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Eagles Split Saturday Doubleheader with Dolphins
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After securing a third A-Sun Championship with a 10-4 win on Friday evening, the FGCU baseball team finished the three-game series with Jacksonville on Saturday afternoon at Sessions Stadium with a double header. The Eagles dropped game one, 8-4, but earned the victory in game two, 8-3, to take the series from the Dolphins.
Currently 43rd in RPI, the Eagles moved to 34-17 overall (22-5 A-Sun) while the Dolphins record went to 23-25 on the year (12-11 A-Sun) with the double header split. The Blue and Green's record in A-Sun conference games went to 70-20 all-time.
Junior Richie Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla.) was handed the game ball to start the first contest of the afternoon. The right hander moved to 6-3 on the year after throwing 5.1 innings and allowing eight runs (five earned) on 13 hits, to go with six strikeouts and two walks in the loss. Junior righty Craig Crumbly (Winter Haven, Fla.) pitched 2.2 scoreless innings in relief and recorded two strikeouts and two walks.
Matt Tomshaw (7-1) picked up the win for the Dolphins after throwing a complete game and allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits and five strikeouts to go with two walks.
The Eagles and Dolphins matched runs through the first two frames, each plating a run in the first and two runs in the second inning.
Junior shortstop Steven Wickens (Whitby, Ontario) led off the game with a single to left field and came around to score on a Zach Maxfield (Nort Port, Fla.) single in the first, and the Dolphins scored on a solo home run by Jamaal Hawkins (1-1).
The Eagles’ second inning scoring was highlighted by a leadoff home run to left field by junior Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla.). A fielding error later in the inning allowed junior Alex Lozada (Estero, Fla.) to cross the plate from third. (3-1). Jacksonville would have runners at second and third with one out, and Alex Swenson touched home on an infield fielding error to level the game (3-3).
With two outs in the bottom of the third inning, Jacksonville sent a single down the right field line to score Alex Martinez from second base and give the home team their first lead of the game (4-3).
The Dolphins pushed the lead to 6-3 when two runs came across the plate in the bottom of the fourth. JU found runners on second and third with two outs before Jonathan Murphy connected with an 0-1 pitch back up the middle for a two RBI single.
FGCU cut into the deficit in the top half of the sixth inning. Gaines got things started with a one out double to center field and moved to third on a groundout to second base. A fielding error by the third baseman allowed Gaines to move the score to 6-4.
Jacksonville recorded two more runs in the home half of the sixth frame and held the Eagles scoreless over the final three innings to claim the 8-4 victory.
The Blue and Green scored four runs on seven hits in the first game of the day. Wickens batted 2-for-5 with a run scored, Maxfield went 1-for-4 with an RBI, and Gaines led the way with the home run in a 2-for-4, two run, and one RBI performance. The Dolphins moved eight runs home on 15 hits in the game.
Senior Pete Woodworth (St. Petersburg, Fla.) was on the mound to begin the second ball game of the afternoon. Improving his record to 8-1, the righty went seven innings and allowed three earned runs on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks in the winning effort. Redshirt sophomore Patrick Nathanson (Maitland, Fla.) threw two innings in relief and allowed just two hits in the scoreless performance.
Kyle Kriech (1-4) had a short outing on the mound to start the game for the Dolphins, throwing just one inning and allowing five earned runs on four hits in the loss. Chris Kaminski, Clay Kollenbaum and Kentrail Pierce combined for the final eight innings on the mound.
In the second contest of the day, the Eagles were able to jump out to an early advantage in their first chance at the plate. Junior Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla.) sent a single through the left side, Roberson singled through the right side and Maxfield walked to load the bases. Another single in the inning by senior Josh Chester (Weston, Fla.) allowed Alvarez and Roberson to score (2-0) and Smiericiak cleared the bases on a three-run home run over the left field wall (5-0).
The home team responded with two runs in the bottom of the first frame. Dan Gulbransen sent a two-out single into left field and was brought home on a triple to right center by Alex Martinez (5-1). Another single in the inning by Jimmy Howick moved Martinez across the plate (5-2).
FGCU extended the lead in the top of the second inning off the bat of Alvarez. The second baseman connected with a first pitch delivery for a two-out solo home run, to push the Eagles’ lead to 6-2.
Jacksonville plated another runner in their half of the fourth stanza. An RBI single to left center by Glen Johnson allowed Jimmy Howick to score from second base, and trim the FGCU advantage to three runs (6-3).
The Eagles scored two insurance runs in the top of the final inning. Maxfield connected to center field for a one-out double and Chester stepped into the box and sent a 1-1 delivery over the fence in right field for a two RBI round-tripper (8-3).
FGCU scored eight runs on 14 hits in the second contest. Chester set the tone as he went 2-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and four RBI. Smierciak recorded three RBI and a run scored on his 1-for-5 day, and Alvarez went 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored.
The Dolphins plated the three runs on seven hits in the game.
Slated next for the Eagles is a meeting with the No. 5 Miami Hurricanes in Coral Gables, Fla. on Tuesday, May 18th at 6 p.m. The Blue and Green fell to then-No. 13 Miami, 9-0, in the “Battle of the Birds” at Hammond Stadium in front of a loud and boisterous crowd of 3,627 on April 14th in Fort Myers.