FORT MYERS, Fla. - The FGCU baseball team used a four-run third inning to defeat the Belmont Bruins, 6-3, in game two of the three game series on Saturday afternoon at Swanson Stadium.
FGCU improved to 25-13 on the season (16-4 A-Sun) while Belmont dropped to 19-22 on the year (7-10 A-Sun).
Junior right hander Richie Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla.) earned his fifth win of the season after throwing seven full innings. Earth (5-1) allowed two runs (two earned) on five hits, and struck out eight. Junior left hander Patrick Nathanson (Maitland, Fla.) pitched two innings in relief and allowed one run on one hit, with four strikeouts.
Freshman lefty Chase Brookshire (4-2) received the loss for Belmont. Brookshire threw six full innings, allowed six runs (six earned) on five FGCU hits.
The Eagles gained an early two-run lead after Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) got ahold of a 0-1 pitch for his eighth home run of the season. Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) came across the plate on Roberson’s home run, after reaching on a leadoff hit-by-pitch (2-0).
Belmont responded with a two-run home run of their own in the top of the third. Packy Elkins led off the Bruins half of the inning with a single through the right side, and four pitches later Tim Egerton evened the score with a home run to centerfield (2-2).
The Blue and Green regained the lead with a four-run third inning. Joe Guarnaccia (Weston, Fla.) singled to lead off the inning, and advanced to second after Wickens laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt. Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) sent a single up the middle to score Guarnaccia, for the Eagles first run of the inning. After Roberson and Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) drew back-to-back walks, Luke Smierciak (Gainesville, Fla.) laced a double just short of the centerfield wall to score Alvarez, Roberson and Maxfield (6-2).
FGCU and Belmont combined for only three hits in the final five and a half innings of play. Belmont pushed across one run in the ninth on a passed ball, but the Eagles were able to hold on for the 6-3 win.
The Eagles registered six runs on six hits and Smierciak led them offensively, going 2-for-4 with three RBI. Four other Eagles recorded one hit on the day. Roberson drove in two RBI with his home run in the first and went 1-for-3 with two runs scored, while Alvarez finished 1-for-3 with a run scored and one RBI.
The Eagles look for the three-game sweep as they close out the series on Sunday at Swanson Stadium, with first pitch scheduled for 11:00 a.m. Sunday’s game is ‘Little League Day’ at the stadium, and all Little Leaguers in uniform are admitted for free.