WICHITA, Kan. – The No. 30 FGCU baseball team fell to No. 24 Wichita State, 15-3, in the final game of the three-game series at Eck Stadium in Wichita, Kan. on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles were successful in Friday’s game one, but victories on Saturday and Sunday earned the Shockers the series win.
FGCU falls to 7-4 on the season and Wichita State improves to 7-1.
Junior lefty Patrick Nathanson (Maitland, Fla.) was given the start in the contest. Nathanson went three and two-thirds innings, allowing eight runs (four earned) on eight hits with three strikeouts and two walks. In the loss, Nathanson's record moved to 2-1 on the year.
Charlie Lowell earned the win for Wichita State in five and two-thirds innings pitched. Lowell allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits, while striking out three and walking two batters.
The Shockers jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in their first opportunity at the plate. Leadoff hitter Kevin Hall singled up the middle. Tyler Grimes reached first base on a fielder’s choice and Hall reached second on the play. Cody Lassley singled to third, moving Hall across the plate (1-0) and a groundout to first base scored Grimes (2-0) while moving Lassley to third. Klint McKeever doubled to left field, scoring Lassley (3-0) and Johnny Coy followed that with an RBI single to left field (4-0). All runs scored in the half inning were unearned.
Wichita State would increase the lead to 5-0 in the bottom of the third with a little help from the Eagles. With two outs, Nate Goro struck out swinging, but reached first base on a wild pitch to load the bases. Next batter Kevin Hall would be hit by a 2-1 breaking ball, moving the runner from third across the plate (5-0).
The Blue and Green would cut into the Shocker lead in the top of the fourth. Junior Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) reached second on a fielding error by the left fielder and headed to third on a single by fellow classmate Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.). First baseman Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) would pick up an RBI on a groundout to third that brought Alvarez in from third (5-1).
Another hit by pitch would put Will Baez on first to start the home half of the fourth. Lassley would single to left field sending Baez to second. The runners would steal second and third, and a groundout by Springer would score Baez (6-1) and move Lassley to third. McKeever and Coy would be hit by a pitches and advance to second and third on a wild pitch. A two-out single up the middle by Bret Bascue sent both runners home (8-1).
Alvarez would lead off the top of the sixth by getting hit with a 1-0 delivery from Lowell. Roberson would draw a walk and freshman catcher Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario) would load the bases on another hit-by-pitch. A two-out single to the shortstop by junior Luke Smierciak (Gainesville, Fla.) would keep the bases loaded and score Alvarez from third (8-2). A liner back to the pitcher would end the half inning for the Eagles with the bases still loaded.
The Shockers would extend the lead to a 12-run advantage in the home portion of the sixth. Lassley started the inning off with a 3-1 walk and snagged second on the next pitch. Springer laced a ground rule double to score Lassley (9-2). Another hit-by-pitch placed McKeever on first base and a three-run homerrun by Ryan Jones gave WSU a double-digit lead (12-2). WSU would have bases loaded with two outs later in the inning and a single up the middle by Chris O’Brien plated two more runs before the final out of the inning (14-2).
Junior shortstop Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) reached first base on a fielder’s choice in the top of the seventh and advanced to third on a single through the ride side by Alvarez. Another fielder’s choice in the inning put Roberson on first, giving him an RBI as Wickens touched the plate (14-3).
The final run of the contest came as Wichita State got a solo homerun off the bat of Travis Bennett in the seventh inning, as the Shockers went on to a 15-3 victory.
In the final contest of the series, the Eagles recorded their three runs on eight hits. Alvarez went 2-for-4 on the day with two runs and Smierciak went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Maxfield and Roberson each recorded an RBI with one hit apiece and Wickens added a run scored.
Through the three-game series, Wickens and Smierciak combined to go 10-for-25 (.400). Wickens went 5-for-13 (.385) with two runs scored, while Smierciak went 5-for-12 (.417) with a homerun, five RBI, and two runs scored. Alvarez batted .300 (3-for-10) in the series with an RBI, two runs scored, a walk and a stolen base.
The Eagles will now open up Atlantic Sun Conference play by traveling to Spartanburg, S.C. to face the Spartans of USC Upstate. The A-Sun foes will play a single game on Friday, March 12th starting at 6 p.m., followed by a doubleheader on Saturday, March 13th with a 1 p.m. start scheduled for game one.