NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The FGCU Baseball team dropped its fourth conference game of the season as the Bisons of Lipscomb took game one of a three-game set, 10-8, on Friday night.
With the loss, FGCU drops to 21-12 overall (12-4 A-Sun) and Lipscomb improves to 13-22 on the year (5-5 A-Sun).
Junior Chris Sale (Lakeland, Fla.) started the evening on the mound for the Blue and Green. The lefty allowed eight runs (eight earned) on 11 hits, while recording 11 strikeouts in seven innings. Junior Jack Wagoner (Berlin, Conn.) picked up the loss after allowing two earned runs on three hits in the eighth inning.
Josh Smith picked up the win for Lipscomb after throwing eight innings and allowing eight earned runs on seven hits. Lipscomb plated the first run of the ballgame in their first chance at the dish. Following an infield single to start off the inning, the runner stole second and third, and came across on a sacrifice fly to right field (1-0).
The Bisons would move a run home in both the third and fourth innings, giving them an early three run advantage (3-0). The home team then brought four runners across the plate in the fifth frame, jumping out to a seven run lead (7-0).
In the top of the sixth stanza, the Eagles cut into the Bisons lead significantly. Sophomore Joe Guarnaccia (Weston, Fla.) singled through the left side of the field to start off the inning and a two-out walk by junior Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) put runners on first and second. Junior Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) then singled to right field to score Guarnaccia (7-1) and the runners moved to second and third on an error by the catcher. After junior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) loaded the bases on a 3-1 walk, senior Josh Chester (Weston, Fla.) stepped to the plate and laced a 2-0 pitch over the fence in right field for a grand slam home run (7-5).
The Blue and Green drew even in the visitors’ half of the seventh. With two outs in the inning, freshman Eric Acevedo (Miami, Fla.) was hit by a pitch and junior Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) was sent to first on a 3-1 walk. Alvarez stepped back into the box and sent a double to left field that scored both Acevedo and Wickens to level the game at 7-7.
The home team would retake the lead in the bottom half of the seventh after the first two batters of the inning walked. A bunt single by the next batter advanced the base runners and an error on the play allowed one run to cross the plate (8-7).
FGCU brought the game level once again in the top of the eight after a leadoff single by Maxfield and a walk from Chester put runners on first and second with no outs. Later in the inning with two outs, Guarnaccia connected for a double to left field that allowed Maxfield to come in from second base (8-8).
Lipscomb reestablished the lead and never looked back in the bottom of the eighth inning. A walk started the inning for the Bisons and the runner advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. The next batter sent a double through the left side to score a run (9-8) and a groundout to Alvarez put a runner on third. Another hit into left field allowed Lipsomb to plate another run (10-8). This would prove to be the final tally of the game, as the Eagles were held scoreless in the top half of the ninth to give the Bisons the victory.
The Eagles moved eight runs across on seven hits in the contest. Guarnaccia and Alvarez each went 2-for-4 with a run scored and a combined three RBI. Chester went 1-for-3 with four RBI on the grand slam home run. Additionally, Roberson went 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
The teams will take the field again on Saturday at 2 p.m. for game two of the three game series. The final game of the series is set for 1 p.m. Sunday.