Josh Upchurch finished the night 1-for-3 with a two-run triple in the seventh.
FORT MYERS, Fla. - After defeating FIU 11-9 earlier this season, the Florida Gulf Coast University baseball team defeated the Golden Panthers of FIU 8-4 courtesy of a five-run seventh, sweeping the season series.
The Eagles improve their record to 26-16, and FIU's record drops to 27-16 on the year. Craig Crumbly (Winter Haven, Fla.) received his fourth win of the season. Crumbly (4-3) threw two innings, allowed one run on four hits.
FIU wouldn't wait very long to get the scoring started as they pushed one run across in the top of the first. With two out and runners at first and third, Tyler Townsend took off for second and got caught in a rundown long enough for the run to cross the plate before the third out of the inning was recorded.
The Golden Panthers would threaten to extend their lead in the second as Tim Jobe would lead off with a single to right. A second consecutive single to right by Michael Vargas would put runners at first and third with one out. After a Vargas stolen base and walk to Lammar Guy, Eagles starter pitcher CJ Evans (Tampa. Fla) would retire the next two batters to end the Golden Panther rally.
In the top of the third, FIU would add two more runs to the scoreboard extending their lead to 3-0 over the Eagles. Pablo Bermudez lead off with a single back up the middle and advanced to second on a throwing error by the pitcher. Bermudez would score from third on a groundout to the second baseman accounting for the first run of the inning. With two outs, Jobe would drive a 2-1 offering over the left field fence making the score 3-0. The Eagles would replace Evans, after going 2.2 innings, giving up five hits and three runs while allowing one walk and recording one strikeout.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Brad Roberts (Tampa, Fla.) would draw a walk on five pitches and Bobby Greene (Cape Coral, Fla.) drove his 11th home run of the season, driving in two runs and pulling the Eagles within one run after four innings of play.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Eagles would plate another run to tie the game at three. Joe Guarnaccia (Davie, Fla.) would lead off with a single to center and advance to third on an errant throw on a pickoff attempt to first. After a Josh Upchurch (Cape Coral, Fla.) walk made it first and third with one out, Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) drove an RBI single to center tying the game at three.
FIU would regain the lead on a pinch hit homerun by Greg Waddell in the top of the seventh making the score 4-3.
The Eagles would answer right back as they put up five runs in the bottom of the seventh. Zach Maxfield (Northport, Fla.) led off the seventh with a towering home run to left center tying the game at four. Josh Chester (St. Petersburg, Fla.) would extend his hitting streak to 15 games after he singled over the shortstops head prompting an FIU pitching change. After the FIU change, Greene would be intentionally walked making it first and seconded with one out. Guarnaccia would come up clutch and drive in Chester from second giving the Eagles the lead. Next Eagle hitter, Upchurch drove a base clearing triple to the right center extending the lead to 7-4. The Eagles would add one more on a single by Alvarez to put the Eagles 8-4.
Eagles pitcher Derek Shaw (New Port Richey, Fla.) would retired the side in the ninth, sealing the victory for FGCU.
Three Eagles recorded multiple hits, Alvarez went 3-for-5 with two RBI, Chester went 2-for-5 with a run scored, and Guarnaccia went 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored.
The Eagles will be back in action this weekend, in a clutch A-Sun series as they travel to Johnson City, Tenn. to face ETSU in a three game set. Game one will start at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 1.