MIAMI, Fla. - The FGCU baseball team rallied late and scored five runs in the seventh to defeat FIU, 10-7, at the FIU Baseball Stadium on Tuesday night in Miami, Fla.
With the win, FGCU improves to 18-10 on the season and FIU drops to 18-11.
FGCU is now 6-2 against FIU in the all-time series. The teams met earlier this season back on March 16 in a contest that saw four lead changes and ended with the FGCU baseball team falling to FIU at Swanson Stadium, 8-6.
Six different Eagles saw the mound with Patrick Nathanson (Maitland, Fla.) receiving the win for FGCU. Nathanson (3-1) threw 2.1 innings, allowed three runs (three earned) on three hits and struck out three FIU batters. Chris Sale (Lakeland, Fla.) picked up his first save of the season, pitching 1.0 inning and striking out one batter.
Jorge Marban earned the loss for FIU. Marban threw 0.1 innings, allowed five runs (five earned) on three hits.
The Eagles opened the contest, scoring two runs in the first half inning. Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) got FGCU going with a leadoff double down the left field line, and Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) reached first after a passed ball on the third strike. With runners at the corners, Wickens came across the plate after an error by FIU first baseman Tim Jobe. Two batters later, Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) drove in his 29th RBI of the season with a single through the left side that scored Alvarez.
FIU quickly answered and scored three unanswered runs. The Golden Panthers added runs in the first, second and fourth innings. An RBI sacrifice fly by Mike Martinez plated FIU’s first run of the game, and two RBI singles by Pablo Bermudez in the second and fourth innings gave FIU the 3-2 lead after four innings of play.
FGCU evened the score at three in the top of the fifth as Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) hit his seventh home run of the season over the left field wall.
The Golden Panthers once again answered, this time with a two-run home run by Jobe that scored Garrett Wittes who reached on a double in the right center field gap.
FIU added another run in the bottom of the sixth on a two-out RBI single by Jabari Henry.
In the top of the seventh, FGCU plated five runs on four hits to take a 8-6 lead. FIU brought in reliever Marban to start the inning, but Marban’s appearance was short lived. The Eagles loaded the bases with one out, courtesy of singles by Roberson, Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla.) and Luke Smierciak (Gainesville, Fla.). Marban walked Kurtis Mullaney (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Josh Chester (Westin, Fla.) and was pulled from the game after only recording one out. FIU put Alberto Cardenas on the mound, who retired the first batter he faced. With two outs and the bases loaded, Wickens was hit by a pitch, and Alvarez followed with a double to left field that scored Chester and Mullaney.
The Golden Panthers scored their final run of the game in the bottom half of the seventh. An RBI sacrifice fly by Raiko Alfonso scored Martinez who reached earlier on a single to right field.
FGCU pushed across two more runs in the top of the ninth to take a 10-7 lead. Joe Guarnaccia (Weston, Fla.) singled with one out, and Alvarez drove in Guarnaccia with an RBI single to through the right side. The final run of the game came on an FIU error.
Three Eagles finished the night with multiple hits. Alvarez finished the night 2-for-6 with three RBI, Roberson went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI, and Guarnaccia went 3-for-4 with one run scored.
The Eagles return to conference play as they travel to Buies Creek, N.C. to take on Campbell. Game one of the three-game series is set for Friday April 9 at 4:00 p.m. On Saturday, the teams wrap up the weekend match up with a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m.