FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team completed the three-game sweep over Belmont to remain in first place in the Atlantic Sun Conference as they defeated the Bruins, 11-3, on Sunday afternoon at Swanson Stadium.
With the win, FGCU improves to 26-13 on the season (17-4 A-Sun) while Belmont drops to 19-23 on the year (7-11 A-Sun). The win secured FGCU’s first ever sweep over Belmont, as the Eagles move to 6-3 all-time against the Bruins.
Senior Pete Woodworth (St. Petersburg, Fla.) earned the win for FGCU. The righty (6-1) threw six complete innings, allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits, while striking out seven. Sophomore Jacob Barnes (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and junior Jack Wagoner (Berlin, Conn.) combined for three innings of shutout baseball in relief.
Frank Adelman received the loss for Belmont. Adelman (0-2) gave up five runs (four earned) on four hits in 3.2 innings of work.
A two-out RBI single to left field by Nate Woods gave the Bruins the early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Tim Egerton scored on the single after reaching on a walk earlier in the inning.
Belmont’s lead was short lived as FGCU tied things up in the bottom of the second inning. Junior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) led off the inning as he lined a double to the right center gap, and advanced to third on a fielding error by the right fielder. Two batters later, senior Josh Chester (Weston, Fla.) walked on four straight pitches, and Alex Lozada (Estero, Fla.) brought in Maxfield on a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt to even the score (1-1).
FGCU took their first lead of the contest in the third inning after Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) and Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) got the Eagles going with back-to-back one-out singles. Just two pitches later, Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) drove in his 42nd RBI on the season on a sacrifice fly to deep right field (2-1).
The lead switched hands again in the top of the fourth when a two-run home run by Packy Elkins gave the Bruins the 3-2 lead.
The Blue and Green answered again, scoring three runs in bottom of the fourth. Chester reached on a hit-by-pitch and Lozada followed with a walk, before Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla.) connected on a 1-2 pitch for his fifth home run of the season (5-3).
The Eagles extended their lead to 8-3 with three more runs in the bottom of the fifth. Junior Luke Smierciak (Gainesville, Fla.) got aboard on a one-out single and Chester walked for the second time in the game. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch, before Lozada singled to bring home Smierciak (6-3). With runners at the corners, Gaines flew out to center field to score Chester and Joe Guarnaccia (Davie, Fla.) followed with an RBI double that scored Lozada (8-3).
Two more FGCU runs came across the plate in the bottom of the sixth inning. A bases loaded RBI walk by Lozada and an infield RBI single by Gaines increased the Eagles lead to 10-3.
From there, the Eagles added another run in the eighth frame. Smierciak connected for a one-out single to the shortstop and advanced to second off a throwing error on the play. A Chester single advanced Smierciak to third and a Lozada single to right field plated Smierciak (11-3). The Eagles retired the side in the top of the final half inning to pick up the eight run victory.
Gaines led the Eagles at the plate as he tied a career-high with five RBI (set at USC Upstate, Mar, 12, 2010) and went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Lozada added a career high four RBI on 2-for-2 hitting. In total, four Eagles recorded at least two hits.
In the series, Alvarez led the Eagles offensively, going 6-for-12. Three Eagles recorded at least three hits in the three-game series. The FGCU starting rotation only allowed four earned runs, and combined for 30 strikeouts as the bullpen did not allow an earned run in five innings of work.
FGCU returns to action on Tuesday, April 27 as they travel to face USF, at Red McEwen Field in Tampa, Fla. First pitch is slated for 7:00 p.m. FGCU currently holds a 2-1 record against USF in the all-time series.