Josh Chester led the Eagles offense, going 3-for-5 with a grand slam and three runs scored.
KENNESAW, Ga. – The FGCU baseball team blew a one run lead in the ninth, but was able to salvage the victory with eight runs in the 15th inning to take game one from Kennesaw State 15-7 at Stillwell Stadium.
Chris Sale (Lakeland, Fla.) worked 8.2 innings, allowed six runs (three earned) on seven hits, and struck out nine. Sale (7-3) earned the no decision, and threw five innings of scoreless baseball. The Owls Kyle Heckathorn also received a no decision after throwing six innings, allowing three runs (all earned) on nine Eagles hits.
Craig Crumbly (Winter Haven, Fla.) received his sixth win of the season. Crumbly (6-3) threw two innings in relief, allowed on e run (earned) on two hits and struck out one. Brad Long fell to 3-2 on the season, Long 0.2 innings, allowed seven runs (two earned) on four hits.
The Eagles jumped out to an early lead, scoring two in the first. With two out in the inning, Tim Roberson (West Palm, Fla.) singled to left center. Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) stepped up and drove a 1-0 fastball over the left field fence to give the Eagles the early 2-0 lead. Josh Chester (Weston, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to 21-games after he singled to left field later in the inning.
The Owls answered in the bottom of the first with one run after a leadoff walk by Jacobs Robbins, and an Eagle error allowed Robbins to score.
The Eagles plated another run in top of the second on a two-out RBI single up the middle by second baseman Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.).
The Owls added one in the fourth on a RBI single through the left side by Robbins.
The Owls evened the score with a leadoff home run by Ric Bishop in the bottom of the fifth. Two batters later, Jace Whitmer gave the Owls their first lead with another Owl home run.
The Eagles bats came through to push across three runs in the seventh to regain the lead. Maxfield singled through the left side with one out, and Chester followed with a hit-by-pitch. With a 2-2 count, Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) sent a triple off the left center wall to score Maxfield and Chester to tie the game at five. Wickens would later score on a wild pitch to put the Eagles up 6-5.
In the bottom of the ninth, FGCU starter Chris Sale retired the first Owls hitter. One pitch later the Owls shortstop Tyler Stubblefield doubled to center with one out. Sale struck out the next batter before surrendering a base-on-balls. With two out and runners on first and second, Sale’s 3-1 pitch got in on the hands of Whitmer but a missed popup by the Eagles first baseman allowed the tying run to cross the plate and prompted a pitching change.
In the bottom of the 13th the Owls had runners on second and third with two out. Martin Baker sent a shallow fly ball to center field, and FGCU centerfielder Josh Upchurch came in on a dead sprint and made the diving catch to extend the game.
After four innings of scoreless baseball, Bobby Greene (Cape Coral, Fla.) sent a 1-0 fastball well over the left field fence to give the Eagles the 7-6 lead in the top of the 14th.
In bottom of the 14th, the Owls would tie the game again. A leadoff doubled to center by Bucky Smith and wild pitch allowed Josh Whitaker to bring in Smith on a sacrifice fly.
In the top of the 15th, the Eagles would score eight runs on six hits on two Owl errors. Brad Roberts (Tampa, Fla.) drove in two Eagles on a double to left center, and Upchurch and Alvarez each had an RBI. The was inning was highlighted by a grand slam to right center by Chester, his second grand slam of the year and his fifth home run of the season.
Six Eagles recorded multiple hits in game one of the three-game series. The Eagles were led offensively by Chester who finished 3-for-5 with three runs scored and four RBI.
The Eagles look to secure their second A-Sun regular season as they wrap-up the series with a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow at Stillwell Stadium. Watch live on A-Sun TV.