BUIES CREEK, N.C. – The Eagles used a combination of great pitching and great hitting to extended their lead in the A-Sun Conference after sweeping a double header from the Camels of Campbell University on Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles move to 21-10 overall (12-3 A-Sun) while the Camels record goes to 17-15 overall (4-11 A-Sun).
Getting the game one start for FGCU was junior right-hander Richie Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla.). Erath picked up a no-decision after throwing eight innings and allowing four earned runs on six hits and six strikeouts. Junior righty Rob Matthews (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) earned his first win of the season after throwing two innings of scoreless baseball.
Logan Davis (4-2) started the game on the mound for Campbell and went 9.1 innings, allowing six earned runs in the losing effort.
The Eagles changed the scoreboard in the top half of the third when shortstop Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) came across the plate. The junior led off the inning with double to right center and advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt by fellow classmate Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.). Wickens would cross the plate on a sacrifice fly to center field by junior Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) (1-0).
In the bottom half of the same frame, Campbell was able to establish a one run lead. Two batters were hit by pitches to put runners on first and second with one out. A single to right center scored the runner from second (1-1), and moved runners to the corners. The second run came across on a groundout to the shortstop (2-1).
The Camels doubled their run total in the bottom of the fourth inning. Following two singles and walk, the home team had the base loaded with one out. Another single to the shortstop moved Campbell’s third run home and a sacrifice fly to right field gave them a 4-1 advantage.
Wickens drew a leadoff walk to start the top of the fifth, and advanced to third on back-to-back groundouts to the second baseman. Junior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) picked up the RBI by knocking in Wickens on a single through the left side of the infield (4-2).
The Blue and Green rallied off the bats of underclassmen in the top of the final inning to bring the game even at four apiece. Sophomore Joe Guarnaccia (Weston, Fla.) sent a one out single back up the middle and was brought home on a two-run homer by freshman Jay Laurienzo (Tampa, Fla.), his first collegiate home run (4-4). The Eagles would retire the side in the home half of the ninth, sending the game to extra innings.
In the top of the extra frame FGCU brought the bats to life, scoring five runs on five hits. Maxfield singled to right field and was followed by a double to right center from junior Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla.) and a walk by junior Luke Smierciak (Gainesville, Fla.) to load the bases with one out. Senior Josh Chester (Weston, Fla.) brought two runs across with a single to right field that scored Gaines and Maxfield (6-4). Guarnaccia sent a full count delivery through the left side, scoring Smiericiak (7-4) and placing runners on the corners. Following a walk by Laurienzo to refill the bases, Wickens singled to left field and moved Chester to the dish (8-4). Guarnaccia would bring the final run to cross the plate for the Eagles after an error by the shortstop allowed Roberson to reach first base safely (9-4).
The Camels would be retired in order to close out the final half inning of game one with the Eagles on top 9-4.
The Blue and Green registered nine runs on 14 hits in the first game of the doubleheader. Wickens, Maxfield, and Gaines each recorded three hits in the ball game, with a combined four runs scored and two RBI. Chester went 2-for-5 with two RBI and a run scored, while Laurienzo picked up two RBI and a run scored with his first home run as an Eagle. Additionally, Guarnaccia went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI.
In game two, senior right-hander Pete Woodworth (St. Petersburg, Fla.) received the start for FGCU and picked up the win to secure his fifth victory of the season to improve to 5-1 on the year. Woodworth threw seven innings and allowed five earned runs on 10 hits and four strikeouts. Jack Wagoner (Berlin, Conn.) earned his first save of the season after throwing two innings of scoreless baseball. Matt Sergey (2-4) started the game on the mound for Campbell and went 5.1 innings, allowing five earned runs in the losing effort.
The Eagles got on the scoreboard first as they plated a run in the top of the second inning. Chester doubled to right center field to score Smierciak (1-0), who reached base after slapping a double down the left field line.
The Camels responded in the home half of the second frame as Alex Aycoth homered to left field to tie the game at one apiece.
FGCU plated another run in the top of the third as Guarnaccia scored on a wild pitch after reaching base off of a single up the middle (2-1).
Campbell added three runs in the bottom of the third inning to take a 4-2 lead. The Camels scored their three runs off of four hits (two doubles).
The Blue and Green brought three runs across the plate in the top of the sixth inning to take a 5-4 lead and never looked back. After Maxfield doubled to right field and Smierciak was hit by a pitch, Chester stepped into the box and blasted a home run to right center field.
Alvarez and Roberson scored in the top of the seventh to increase FGCU’s lead to 7-4, but CU quickly cut the Eagle lead to 7-5 in the home half of the seventh. Chris Bangi was hit by a pitch and a double down the left field line by Ellis Lowe would bring Bangi in to score from first base.
Patrick Nathanson (Maitland, Fla.) and Wagoner would come in to relieve Woodworth and proceeded to pitch shutout baseball over the final two innings as the Eagles held on for the 7-5 win.
Chester finished the contest 3-for-4 with five RBI and a homer. Maxfield and smierciak both went 2-for-4 in game two.
FGCU will return to the field on Wednesday, April 14 when they face the No. 9 Miami Hurricanes at Hammond Stadium in the ‘Battle of the Birds’. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Reserved seating for the event will be $9.00 and general admission will be $6.00. FGCU students and Eagles Club members, who have All-Sports Passes, will receive a complimentary ticket for admission.
To purchase tickets, you can contact the FGCU Ticket Office at 239-590-7145, visit the FGCU Ticket Office at Alico Arena, or log on to FGCUAthletics.com
If you are interested in purchasing a large group of tickets (10 or more), contact Matt Collver, FGCU Director of Ticket Operations, by phone at (239) 590-7145 or by email at email@example.com regarding group rates and for seating availability.