FORT MYERS, Fla. – The Florida Gulf Coast University baseball team won its fifth straight with five runs in the bottom of the eight to take Lipscomb 7-1. Roberson extended his hit streak to 14 games, while Upchurch drives in three runs.
Leading up to this Atlantic Sun Conference weekend series, FGCU (20-14, 11-5 A-Sun) and Lipscomb (15-22, 10-6 A-Sun) were deadlocked in third place in the A-Sun with records of 10-5 respectively.
Both teams ran their aces out in game one with sophomore Chris Sale (Lakeland, Fla.) toeing the mound for the Eagles against junior Rex Brothers (Shelbyville, Tenn.) of Lipscomb.
Lipscomb would get on the board first in the top of the fourth after Tyler Wilson (Wheeler, Miss.) beat out an infield single. Wilson would advanced to second on a pass ball and be driven in on a clutch two out single by Justin Sanders (Conyers, Ga.). On a base hit to right, Sanders got thrown out at the plate as FGCU right fielder Josh Chester (Weston, Fla.) hit the cutoff Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) to get Sanders at the plate for the final out of the inning.
The Eagles would threaten in the bottom of the inning when Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) got aboard with a leadoff single. After Maxfiled walked on five pitches and Josh Chester (St. Petersburg, Fla.) laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to third, the Eagles had second and third with only one out. Lipscomb walked Bobby Greene (Cape Coral, Fla.) to load the bases for Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.). After falling behind 0-2, Alvarez battled and fouled off three pitches before grounding into an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.
Lipscomb would pick up right where they left off as Branden CaDavid (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) got on base with a leadoff walk. Lipscomb catcher Logan Hostettler (Franklin, Tenn.) also walked to make it first and second with nobody out. FGCU would escape the inning after they turned a 9-2 double play where Chester threw a runner out from right field.
FGCU scored two runs in the sixth to take their first lead of the game. Maxfield took the first pitch of the inning back up the middle and advanced to third on a Chester single over the first basemen’s head. With runners on first and third with one out, Alvarez walked to load the bases. Brad Roberts (Tampa, Fla.) delivered for the Eagles with an RBI single past the third baseman to tie the game at one. One batter later, Chester was called safe at a play at the plate after freshman Joe Guarnaccia (Davie, Fla.) drove a sacrifice fly to right field.
In the bottom of the eighth the Eagles would put the game out of reach scoring five runs to build a 7-1 lead. Back to back lead off walks and an error on the right fielder loaded the bases for FGCU in the bottom of the eighth. Josh Upchurch (Cape Coral, Fla.) drove a base clearing, three RBI triple down the left field line to put FGCU up 6-1. FGCU tacked on one more after Upchurch crossed the plate on a Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) sac fly to center.
Lipscomb would go quietly in the top of ninth as Jason Forjet (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) struck out the side. The win gives FGCU their 11 conference victory of the season. FGCU improves to 20-14 (11-5 A-Sun) while Lipscomb drops to 15-22 (10-6 A-Sun).
Chris Sale got the win in eight innings of work, allowing five hits and a run, while striking out eight. Rex Brothers took the loss in seven innings of work, allowing seven hits and two runs, while striking out nine.
Three Eagles recorded multiple hits, Upchurch finished 2-for-4 with a run scored and three RBI, Roberson went 2-for-5, and Roberts went 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
FGCU and Lipscomb will be back at it again tomorrow afternoon at 4 p.m. in game two of the three game set. The wrap up game of the series is slated for Sunday morning at 11 a.m. To watch game two live CLICK HERE.