DELAND, Fla. – The No. 30 FGCU baseball team earned their fourth conference victory of the season in a 4-2 defeat of the Stetson Hatters on Friday evening in DeLand, Fla. In game one of the series, junior lefty Chris Sale (Lakeland, Fla.) went eight innings on the mound and sat down 14 batters.
Picking up the victory improved the Eagles record to 11-5 overall and 4-0 against A-Sun opponents. The Hatters dropped to 8-11 overall and 0-1 in A-Sun play.
Junior Preseason Pitcher of the Year Chris Sale earned his second victory of the season (2-0) in an outstanding pitching performance to open the series. The Lakeland, Fla. native went eight innings and allowed just one run (one earned) on seven hits, with 14 strikeouts and no walks. In five appearances, Sale has 40 strikeouts and allowed just five earned runs, boasting a 1.73 ERA.
Jacob de Grom received the loss for Stetson, going six innings and allowing three runs (two earned) on nine hits.
The Eagles put one run on the board in their first chance at the plate. With one out, junior Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) sent a double down the right field line, advanced on a wild pitch, and was brought home on a double to right center by junior Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.)(1-0).
In the bottom of the fourth, Stetson leveled the game at one apiece on a single to center field that plated a runner from third base (1-1).
The Blue and Green would bring two across the dish in the visitors half of the fifth frame. Alvarez sent a one-out single to left, Roberson was hit by a 1-2 delivery, and Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) reached on an error. With bases loaded, junior Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla.) sent a full count delivery up the middle scoring Alvarez and Roberson (3-1).
FGCU scored one more run in the top of the final inning. Singles by Alvarez and Maxfield placed runners on first and second and Gaines brought Alvarez home on a single into center field, for his third RBI of the night (4-1).
Stetson moved another runner home in the home half of the ninth inning. With runners on the corners a single landed in left field and moved the runner in from third. This would prove to be the final tally of the game, as the Eagles recorded the final out, sealing the 4-2 victory.
The Blue and Green earned their four runs on 13 hits. Alvarez went 4-for-5 with three runs scored and Gaines hit 3-for-5 with three RBI. Roberson picked up a hit, a run scored and an RBI, while Maxfield added two hits to FGCU’s total. Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario), Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario), and Josh Chester (Weston, Fla.) each recorded a hit in the contest.
The Eagles will be back in action on Saturday in an afternoon doubleheader with the Hatters. The first pitch of the day is set for a 1 p.m. start.