GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team jumped out to an early eight run lead on No. 2 Florida Wednesday night in Gainesvillle, Fla., but fell to the Gators after surrendering 13 unanswered runs over the final eight innings.
With the loss, the Eagles drop to 12-7 overall (5-1 A-Sun) on the season and the Gators improved to 17-3 on the year.
Left-hander Patrick Nathanson (Maitland, Fla.) started the evening on the hill for the Eagles. The junior allowed just one run (one earned) in two innings, with no hits and a strikeout in the no decision. The Eagles used six pitchers in the contest and sophomore Jacob Barnes (St. Petersburg, Fla.) was credited with the loss after going one and a third, allowing three runs (three earned) on three hits.
Anothony DeSclafani got the start for the Gators and surrendered seven runs (six earned) on five hits in an inning and a third. Clint Franklin was awarded the win for Florida after throwing two scoreless innings.
In the top half of the second, the Eagles were able to bring eight runs to the plate. Junior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) started the inning with a double to left field and was followed by fellow classmate Austin Gaines’ (Dunedin, Fla.) single to center. Freshman Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario) scored Maxfield on a single to right field (1-0) and Gaines came across the plate (2-0) on a throwing error by the pitcher, following a sacrifice bunt by freshman Kurtis Mullaney (Jacksonville, Fla.). A sacrifice fly by Josh Chester (Weston, Fla.) scored Reeves from third (3-0) and a double to left center by junior Luke Smierciak (Gainesville, Fla.) moved Mullaney home (4-0). Junior Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) stepped to the plate and laced a two-run home run to left field, scoring Smierciak in the process (6-0). Following a Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) hit-by-pitch, junior Tim Roberson connected for a two-run home run of his own, giving the Eagles the early 8-0 lead.
The Gators were able to move a run home in the bottom of the second when a walk with the bases loaded scored a runner from third (8-1). In the home half of the third, Florida brought three more runs to the plate on three hits, cutting the Eagles advantage to 8-4.
Florida was able to take a one-run lead in bottom half of the fourth frame. With two outs, Matt den Dekkar capped the five-run inning for the Gators with a three-run home run, giving the home team a 9-8 lead.
In the home half of the fifth, the Gators extended their lead to 11-8 after bringing three runs home on two hits and walk in the inning. The lead would be pushed to five runs in the sixth, as Florida moved two runs across the plate on two hits (13-8).
The Eagles moved the eight runs home on 12 hits in the contest. Wickens went 3-for-5 with a home run, two RBI and a run scored, while Roberson also homered, plated two RBI, and scored a run in his 2-for-5 performance. Reeves, Chester, and Smierciak each recorded RBI in the contest.
The Gators recorded 13 runs on 13 hits in the game.
FGCU lands back at home for a three-game series with A-Sun conference foe Kennesaw State at Swanson Stadium, beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. The teams will complete the series with a Saturday doubleheader, with the opening pitched scheduled for 1 p.m.