Florida Gulf Coast
2/22/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 2254
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|Win: Steven Ewing
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Miami junior lefty Steven Ewing tossed seven scoreless innings while recording seven strikeouts, as the No.12 Hurricanes defeated the FGCU baseball team, 3-0, on Wednesday evening at Hammond Stadium in front of a crowd of 2,254.
“In his first start of the year I thought Ricky did a good job on the mound this evening,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “Any time you go against a nationally-ranked team you know you’re going to be in a battle, and I felt like Knapp competed well tonight. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the offense going until late and we left runners on base in the eighth and ninth, which could have put us right back in the game.”
The Eagles’ record drops to 1-3 on the year. Meanwhile, the Hurricanes improve their mark to 4-0 this season and extend their winning streak against the Green and Blue to eight straight.
Miami put together its first scoring chance in the third inning, as back-to-back singles put runners on the corners with no outs to begin the frame. Starter Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) caught UM’s Michael Broad leaning at first base, recording the first out on a 1-4-3-6 pickoff, and followed with a foul out to third base and a routine ground ball to first base, to work his way out of the jam.
In the fourth inning, the Hurricanes broke into the runs column following senior Peter O’Brien’s leadoff double to right field. A Rony Rodriguez groundout to first base advanced O’Brien to third and another groundout to third base plated O’Brien to make it a 1-0 game.
The Canes brought two more runs across the dish, plating one runner in both the sixth and seven frames. With bases full in the sixth, a sac fly to right field by Brad Fieger brought Tyler Palmer in from third, increasing the lead to 2-0. Finding runners on the corners in the seventh, a 6-4-3 ground ball double play allowed Esteban Tresgallo to come in from third, improving the Canes’ advantage to three runs.
FGCU found scoring opportunities in the eighth and ninth innings. A one-out hit-by-pitch to junior Tito Mendoza (Miramar, Fla./Cowley CC) followed by a Dane Wisneski (Jupiter, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens HS/Daytona State) single to left field placed runners on first and second. However, reliever Eric Nedeljkovic recorded back-to-back strikeouts to keep the Green and Blue off the board and maintain the 3-0 lead.
Another favorable opportunity presented itself in the ninth, as the Eagles found the bases full after a leadoff single from centerfielder Ryan Gebhart (Waco, Texas/Midway HS/Missouri) and consecutive walks to sophomore Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) and freshman Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS). With one out in the inning, lefty AJ Salcines enter the contest and preserved the 3-0 victory, as junior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to close out the final frame.
FGCU tallied three hits in the contest, two of which came off the bat of Wisneski and the other coming on an infield single from Gebhart.
Knapp (1-1) finished seven strong innings on the mound, allowing three earned runs on nine hits and totaling four strikeouts. Closing out the final two frames for the Eagles, freshman Brady Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto County HS) extended his scoreless inning streak to five, adding a pair of strikeouts.
Ewing (1-0) picked up his first win of the season in the seven inning performance, allowing just one hit and two walks to go with his seven strikeouts.
The Eagles will be back in action this weekend, as they welcome Bryant University (2-1) to Swanson Stadium for a three-game set. The first contest is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 24 at 6:30 p.m. Live stats, in-game Twitter updates (@FGCUEagles and @FGCUBaseball), results and recaps from all FGCU events will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.