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No. 30 Eagles Fall to Wolverines, 13-7
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team dropped their second game of the season to Michigan, 13-7 on Wednesday at Swanson Stadium in front of a crowd of 1,032. Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) led the Eagles offensively, going 2-for-5 with a grand slam and five RBI.
FGCU drops to 6-2 on the season and Michigan improves to 4-4.
For the Wolverines, Travis Smith earned the win in relief throwing 1.2 innings giving up just one hit while striking out two. Jason Forjet (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.) takes the loss for the Eagles throwing 2.2 innings, allowing three hits and one earned run.
The game saw four scattered hits before Michigan put together a four-run third. The Wolverines’ Nick Urban sent a perfect bunt down the third base line to start Michigan’s half of the inning. Patrick Biondi needed just one pitch to send a triple down the right field line that plated Urban for the game's first run. Biondi came across the plate on a sacrifice fly to left field by Anthony Toth, and Coley Crank doubled before the Eagles would record the first out of the inning on a pop up. With one out, Mike Dufek scored on a passed ball, and Crank later scored on a single through the left side by Derek Dennis.
In FGCU’s half of the third, the Wolverines retired the first two Eagle batters before the Blue and Green would load the bases. Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) walked on six pitches, Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla.) followed with a single to right center, and Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) also walked to bring up Roberson. Roberson saw a fastball out over the plate and drove it over the right field wall, just sneaking it inside the foul pole to tie the game at four.
Michigan would take the lead again in the top of the fourth, scoring two runs on two hits. A single by Biondi scored Urban who led off the inning with a single, and a sacrifice fly by Dufek later scored Biondi to give Michigan the 6-4 lead.
The Eagles would load the bases again in the bottom of the fifth, this time with only one out. Alvarez sparked the Eagles offense with a one-out single up the middle. Gaines singled through the left side and Maxfield drew a walk to load the bases again for Roberson. Roberson took some healthy cuts but was retired on a strikeout and Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario) lined out to short to end the inning and leave three Eagles stranded.
Michigan looked to add another run in the top of the sixth, but Roberson scooped up a bunt by Toth and came up with the bared-handed play with two outs, that stranded Urban on third.
FGCU threatened again in the bottom of the sixth after Josh Chester (Weston, Fla.) singled up the middle with one out and Kurtis Mullaney (Jacksonville, Fla.) was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. Five pitches later, Michigan used a 5-3 double play to end the Eagles threat.
Michigan plated seven more runs in the top of the seventh as they used four hits and two Eagle errors to take a 13-4 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, FGCU plated another run to cut the lead down to 13-5. Gaines added his third hit of the night as he doubled down the right field line and later scored on an RBI single by Maxfield.
FGCU answered again in the bottom of the eighth; back-to-back singles by Luke Smieriak (Gainesville, Fla.) and Chester set up a one-out RBI single by Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) to make the score 13-6.
The Eagles would score one more run in the bottom of the ninth where the score would stand, 13-7. Roberson sent a sacrifice fly to right field that scored Maxfield who reached on a double to center field.
Gaines continued his hot hitting as he went 3-for-4 with a double, walk, and two runs scored. Gaines also pitched a scoreless 9th inning for the Blue and Green. Maxfield finished the night going 2-for-3 with double , RBI, and two runs scored.
The Eagles hit the road for the first time this season as they travel to Wichita, Kansas to battle No. 24 Wichita State. The three game series starts Friday, March 5th at 4:00 p.m. Eastern.