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Eagles Upset No. 9 Gators to Win Ninth Straight
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team used their bats to take No. 9 Florida. The Eagles recorded 20 hits to upset the Gators by a score of 17-5 on Wednesday night at McKethan Stadium.
The Eagles banged out 20 hits to down the Gators as Jacob Barnes (St. Petersburg, Fla.) earned his win as an Eagle. Barnes (1-1) threw four scoreless innings, and allowed only three hits, and struck out a season high six Gators. Justin Poovey (2-1) received his first loss of the season. Poovey threw four innings, allowed eight hits and seven earned runs.
Josh Chester (Weston, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to 20 games, while Joe Guarnaccia (Davie, Fla.) tied a season high three hits.
After two innings of hitless baseball, the Eagles Joe Guarnaccia singled off Justin Poovey’s leg for the first hit of the game. With runners at the corners and two out, Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) drew a walk. With the bases loaded, Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) hit one deep to left field that left McKethan Stadium for his 18th home run, and his second grand slam of the season.
The Gators threatened in the bottom of the third, loading the bases with one out. FGCU starter Jason Forjet (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) would get out of the jam after Daniel Pigott popped out to second, and Preston Tucker grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Eagles added five more runs in the fifth, courtesy of five Eagle hits and one Gator error. Alvarez leadoff the inning with a single to left field, and Roberson followed with a double to right center. With runners on second and third with nobody out, Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) doubled down the left field line to bring in Alvarez and Roberson. Robert Greene (Cape Coral, Fla.) put the Eagles up 9-0 after he drove in Maxfield on another RBI double down the left field line.
In the bottom of the fifth the Gators loaded the bases with one out for the second time in the game, but this time they would capitalize. The Gators put up five runs on four hits in the inning to cut the Eagles lead down to 9-5.
Roberson recorded his third hit of the game with a single to center to lead off the sixth. Two batters later, Josh Chester (Weston, Fla.) singled the first base, advancing Roberson to second with one out. Two pitches later, Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) sent a 1-1 fastball to left field to score Roberson and put the Eagles up 10-5.
Guarnaccia and Upchurch drew consecutive walks in the seventh and Alvarez knocked an RBI single into left field to boost the Eagles lead to 11-5 and prompt another Gator pitching change. After Roberson flew out to deep center, Maxfield blasted a three-run home run to left field to put the Eagles up 14-5. It was his 16th home run of the campaign.
In the eighth inning, Greene was hit by a pitch and Roberts walked before a run-scoring single by Guarnaccia. Alvarez would send a sac fly to center that pushed the margin to 16-5.
Chester walked to open the ninth and Wickens lined a base-hit into left field before Roberts delivered a one-out single to put the Eagles up by 12.
The Eagles held a 20-9 advantage in hits, with five that went for extra bases.
Seven Eagles recorded two or more hits with Roberson collecting four RBI, and Maxfield bringing in five.
The Eagles continue conference play on Friday as they travel to Kennesaw, Ga. to face Kennesaw State in a pivotal A-Sun conference matchup; first pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. The Eagles are currently a game and a half up on Kennesaw State.