TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Competing in its fourth road contest over the past five days, the FGCU baseball team fell to No. 8 Florida State, 13-2, in front of a loud and boisterous crowd of 4,505 at Dick Howser Stadium on Tuesday evening in Tallahassee, Fla.
In the losing effort, the Eagles record moved to 19-18 (10-8 A-Sun), while the nationally-ranked Seminoles improved to 27-10 (11-7 ACC) on the year.
After retiring the Eagles in order to open the game, the Seminoles started their evening off with pair of runs in the bottom of the first. Following a double steal to advance runners to second and third, Jayce Boyd landed a double into the right center alley to plate both men on base and give the home team a 2-0 lead.
FGCU quickly answered back in the top of the second when four-hole hitter Zach Maxfield (North Port,Fla./North Port HS/Pasco-Hernando CC) led off the frame with a solo blast over the left field wall to cut it to a 2-1 game. It was the senior’s team-leading ninth home run of the season and moved his RBI count to a team-high 41 on the year.
Florida State pushed two more runs across to extend the advantage to 4-1 in its next chance at the plate. The damage would be kept to a minimum however, as the Eagles’ defense stranded a pair of FSU runners at second and third to keep the deficit at three runs heading to the third inning.
Combining for nine runs over the middle three innings, the Seminoles held a 13-1 lead in the ballgame moving to the seventh inning. FSU plated five in the fourth, three in the fifth and one in the sixth to take the strong advantage.
The Eagles were able to bring another runner home in the visitor’s side of the seventh. A walk from freshman Jake Foley (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) got the frame started and a single from classmate Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) placed runners on first and second with one out. After a fly out to deep center field from freshman Sean Dwyer (Leesburg, Fla./Tavares HS) moved runners to the corners, senior Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) connected for an RBI single through the left side to make the score 13-2 as Foley touched home plate.
The final two frames remained scoreless as the Seminoles went on to the 13-2 victory.
FGCU scored two runs on seven hits and were led at the plate by freshman Brandon Bednar’s (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) 2-for-4 night. Maxfield and Alvarez each finished the contest 1-for-4 with an RBI, while Maxfield added a run scored on the home run. The round tripper also placed Maxfield atop the all-time home run list with 40, one ahead of senior teammate Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS).
FSU tallied 13 runs on as many hits in the contest.
Using a total of six pitchers in the contest, sophomore lefty Kevin Bryant (Homestead, Fla./South Dade HS) (0-2) was hit with the loss for FGCU. The starter exited after 1.1 innings and allowed four runs on four hits to go with a pair of strikeouts.
By way of a controlled start, junior Gary Merians improved his record to 6-2 after being awarded the victory for the Seminoles. Merians went four innings and allowed one earned run on four hits to go with four strikeouts.
The final contest in the two-game set with No. 8 Florida State will get underway with a 6 p.m. opening pitch on Wednesday evening. Junior right-hander Jason Forjet (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Nova HS) (1-3) is scheduled to make his fifth start of the year for the Eagles. Live stats, in-game twitter (@FGCUBaseball), results and recaps will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.