FORT MYERS, Fla. - The No.25 Florida Gulf Coast University baseball team won their 2010 season opener with a 10-0 win over Temple on Friday night at Swanson Stadium. Junior Richie Erath worked six strong innings in relief, not allowing a run and striking out six.
The reining A-Sun Pitcher of the Year and a Baseball America first-team All-American, junior Chris Sale (Lakeland, Fla.), got the start for the Eagles and retired all six Owls he faced, striking out four.
Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla.) earned the victory by going six innings and giving up just three hits while fanning six batters. C.J. Evans (Tampa, Fla.) closed out the ninth inning, striking out two and giving up a hit.
Temple’s Matt Mongiardini took the loss after giving up three earned runs on four hits in nearly four innings.
The Eagles would jump ahead early in the bottom of the third when Luke Smierciak (Gainesville, Fla.) belted a one-out triple to left, then scored on a sac bunt by second baseman Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.). Tim Roberson’s (West Palm Beach, Fla.) two-out single to left plated shortstop Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario, Canada), who walked earlier in the inning, to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead.
The Eagles picked up two more runs in the fourth, when Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) drew a leadoff walk and Josh Chester’s (Weston, Fla.) single was followed by two Owl errors, scoring Maxfield and Chester to make it 4-0. Wickens then banged a two-out double to right field, scoring Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario, Canada), who drew a walk, to extend the lead to 5-0.
FGCU scored again in the fifth when Temple center fielder Jabir Kahn misplayed Austin Gaines’ (Dunedin, Fla.) single, allowing Maxfield, who had been hit by a pitch, to come in to score (6-0). The Blue and Green added another run in the sixth when Wickens singled, stole second, and was brought in by Roberson’s single, to make the score 7-0.
The Eagles put three more runs on the board in the seventh after Reeves’ smacked a two-RBI single to right centerfield and Smierciak doubled down the left field line to plate Reeves.
Smierciak, in his FGCU debut, finished 3-for-4 with a triple, double and RBI. Roberson was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Reeves went 1-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
The Eagles and Owls will do battle once again tomorrow afternoon at Swanson Stadium. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. The final game of the series is Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.