FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team picked up a non-conference road win as they defeated the Bulls of USF, 10-9, on Tuesday evening at Red McEwen Field.
With the win, FGCU improves to 27-13 on the season while USF drops to 19-22 on the year. The game saw a total of 12 pitchers take the mound on the evening (FGCU 8; USF 4).
Down two runs with two outs in the ninth inning, USF’s Junior Carlin doubled to left scoring Jonathan Koscso, but pinch-runner Jimmy Falla was thrown out at the plate by Alex Lozada (Estero, Fla.) to end the game.
The Bulls got a walk from Koscso and a single by Todd Brazeal with two out in the ninth, but were unable to tie the game as Falla was gunned down on a bang-bang play at the dish.
The exciting ninth capped a windy game, which allowed both offenses to combine for 19 runs on 21 hits.
FGCU starter Kevin Bryant (Homestead, Fla.) was one of eight pitchers the Eagles used on the night, and he lasted just 1.0 inning although he did not allow a run or a hit in the appearance. Redshirt sophomore Patrick Nathanson (Maitland, Fla.) earned the win for FGCU. The lefty (4-2) threw 2.2 innings of shutout baseball, while allowing a pair of hits and striking out one. Junior Jack Wagoner (Berlin, Conn.) pitched one inning to pick up his seventh save of the season. USF’s Kevin Quackenbush (1-3) took the lost on the night.
The Eagles started the scoring in the top of the first as Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla.) doubled down the left field line to score Wickens, who led the game off with a single up the middle (1-0).
The Bulls would put up six on the board in the bottom of the second. Brazeal led off the inning with a double to left-center, and would come in to score as Carlin hit a homer to left field (2-0). With runners on the corners and two outs, Alex Mendez singled to score Sam Mende and give USF the 3-1 lead. Jonathan Koscso reached on an error to plate Luis Llerena and Mendez, and Koscso would score on a double by Stephen Hunt to give the Bulls a 6-1 lead.
FGCU responded by scoring four in the top of the third to cut the USF lead to one (6-5). Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla.) and Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) both drew walks to lead off the inning and Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) doubled down the left field line to score Gaines (6-2). After Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla.) reached on an error to the shortstop that brought in Wickens (6-3) and Maxfield drew a walk, Luke Smierciak (Gainesville, Fla.) reached on a fielder’s choice to bring Alvarez across the plate (6-4). Alex Lozada (Estero, Fla.) singled to right field to plate Roberson (6-5) and cut the USF lead to one.
The Bulls took an 8-5 lead on a two-RBI double by Hunt to score Mendez and Chad Taylor in the bottom of the fourth.
The Eagles added a run in the top of the fifth on a double by Lozada and went on to cut the USF lead to 8-7 as they scored another in the sixth on an RBI ground out by Roberson.
The Blue and Green rallied in the top of the seventh for three runs to take a 10-8 lead, their first lead since the top of the first inning. Gaines slapped a triple down the right field like to score Josh Chester (Weston, Fla.) and Lozada, who reached on a single and a walk, respectively.
The Bulls rallied for one in the ninth to make it 10-9, but the tying run was thrown out at the plate to end the game.
Roberson, Lozada and Gaines led the Eagles with two RBI apiece. Lozada and Gaines both finished the game 2-for-4.
FGCU returns to action on Saturday, May 1 as they travel to Clemson, S.C. to face the No. 23 Tigers of Clemson in game one of a four game set (May 1-4). First pitch for each game of the series is slated for 6:30 p.m.