DELAND, Fla. – To wrap-up the A-Sun Series of the Week, the No. 30 FGCU Eagles split doubleheader games with the Stetson Hatters on Saturday in DeLand, Fla. The Eagles took game one, 8-4, but the Hatters were successful in game two, 10-8.
With the doubleheader split, Eagles move to 12-6 on the year and 5-1 in A-Sun play and Stetson’s record moves to 9-11 overall and 1-2 against A-Sun competition.
Throwing a solid eight innings, junior Richie Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla.) improved to 4-0 on the season with the game one victory. The right hander allowed no runs on four hits with eight strikeouts and no walks, in the winning effort.
David Burns picked up the loss for Stetson after surrendering seven runs (six earned) on nine hits and one walk in four innings pitched.
In the first game, FGCU was able to light up the scoreboard in the top of the second. Junior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) led off the inning with a single up the middle and freshman Kurtis Mullaney (Jacksonville, Fla.) did the same to put runners on the corners. With two-outs, junior Luke Smierciak reached on an error by the shortstop, and Maxfield advanced home on the play (1-0).
The Eagles would add to their lead in the visitor’s half of the fourth. Freshman Mike Reeves was hit by a 2-0 delivery, Mullaney singled through the left side, and advanced to second and third on a sacrifice bunt by Smierciak. Senior Josh Chester picked up an RBI on a ground ball to first base that moved Reeves in from third (2-0).
The lead would be extended to a seven run advantage, as the Blue and Green exploded for a five run fifth inning. Junior second baseman Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) started things off with a double to left center and was brought home (3-0) on a single through the right side by fellow classmate Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.). Maxfield followed that with a double to left center that scored Roberson (4-0). Following an Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla.) walk, Reeves singled to right center and moved Maxfield across the dish (5-0). Chester would plate Gaines (6-0) on a single to right field and Stephen Wickens sent a ball into left field (Whitby, Ontario) that scored Mullaney, who had reached earlier in the frame on a fielder’s choice (7-0).
FGCU added an insurance run in the top of the eighth inning following a walk by Alvarez and a Roberson hit-by-pitch. Maxfield brought the lone run of the inning home on a single to left field that scored Alvarez from second (8-0).
Stetson would plate four in the bottom of the final frame. After a two-out walk, the Hatters brought two runners across the plate on a home run to right field (8-2). After another batter reached on an error, the Hatters sent another ball over the fence to plate two more runs (8-4). This would be the final score of the game, as the Eagles recorded the final out with a four-run lead.
In game one, the Eagles got eight runs on 13 hits and were led by a 4-for-5, two run, two RBI performance by Maxfield. Mullaney went 3-for-4 with a run scored and Alvarez hit 2-for-5 while scoring twice. Chester had a hit and two RBI, while Reeves and Wickens each picked up a hit and an RBI.
Senior Pete Woodworth (St. Petersburg, Fla.) got the start in game two of the doubleheader and went six innings, allowing six runs (six earned) on nine hits with five strikeouts in the no decision effort. Junior Austin Gaines was credited with the loss after giving up three runs (three earned) in one and two-thirds innings.
As game two got underway, the Blue and Green were able to move five runs home in their first chance at the plate. Two-out singles by Roberson and Maxfield put runners on first and second before Gaines landed a first pitch delivery into center field, scoring Roberson (1-0). Reeves then scored Maxfield on a full count single to right center field (2-0). Mullaney walked to load the bases and Gaines scored when Smierciak was hit by a pitch (3-0). Chester would reach on an error that scored Reeves (4-0) and Wickens was beamed by a first pitch delivery, plating Mullaney (5-0).
FGCU added three more in the top of the top of the fifth. Gaines reached on a single up the middle and was brought home on a two-run home run down the right field line by Reeves (7-0), his second of the season. Smierciak hit his second home run of the season on a solo shot to left field that extended the lead to 8-0.
Stetson would cut the lead in the later stages of the game. In the home half of the fifth, the Hatters put five runs on the board on four hits (8-5) and reduced the deficit to one-run (8-7) in the bottom of the seventh off three hits.
Following a hit-by-pitch, a walk, and a single, the score was brought even again in the bottom of the eighth inning (8-8). Later in the inning with bases loaded, the Hatters moved ahead on the scoreboard with a single to right field that plated two runners (10-8).
The Eagles were held scoreless in the top of the final frame and the final score read 10-8 in favor of the Hatters.
FGCU got eight runs on 13 hits in game two, highlighted by a 3-for-5 game with two runs and an RBI by Gaines. Maxfield also went 3-for-5 with an RBI and Reeves hit 2-for-5 with a home run, three RBI, and two runs scored. Smierciak added a home run, a run scored, and two RBI in the second contest of the day.
The No. 30 Eagles will be back in action on Wednesday, March 24th for a mid-week matchup with the No. 6 Florida Gators in Gainesville, Fla. The Blue and Green will land back home for game one of a three-game weekend series with the Owls of Kennesaw State in Swanson Stadium , beginning March 26th at 6:30 p.m.