FORT MYERS, Fla. – A pair of two-out RBI singles in the top of the ninth inning helped No. 14 Stetson break up a 4-4 tie and leave Swanson Stadium with a 6-4 victory over FGCU in the Atlantic Sun weekend series opener.
The Eagles took a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the second when senior Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) took the ninth pitch of his at-bat over the right field wall with the bases loaded for his first career grand slam and first home run of the season.
Stetson got back into the game with a run in the top of third and tied the score at 4-4 with two runs in the fifth to allow starter Lindsey Caughel to escape with a no-decision.
The Hatters’ bullpen stymied the FGCU offense over the final four innings, limiting the Eagles to two hits and a pair of walks. Junior Jake Boyd tossed the final 2.1 scoreless innings to earn the win and improve to 7-0 on the season thanks to the two-run ninth.
Sophomore R.J. Brown (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale HS) went 3.2 innings, giving up two runs on six hits while striking out four in his first career start. Junior Jacob Barnes (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg) took over for Brown with one out left in the fourth and lasted all the way through the seventh. Barnes fanned six, while also giving up two earned runs. Senior Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla./Northeast HS/South Florida CC) gave up the two runs in the ninth after getting the first two batters of the inning to groundout.
The Blue and Green managed six of their first eight hits over the first five innings, as they fell to 22-24 on the season and evened their record at 11-11 in the A-Sun. Stetson, who sits in first place in the conference, is now 35-10 and 18-4 in the league.
Alvarez’s home run was the 304th hit of his career, as he also worked two walks. Senior Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) and freshman Jake Foley (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) each had multi-hit evenings.
Game two of the three-game set is scheduled for a 4 p.m. first pitch on Saturday. All three games over the weekend are free for FGCU faculty and staff along with their families. Sunday’s game is free admission for everyone.