Florida Gulf Coast
3/13/2012 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 394
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FORT MYERS, Fla. – Sparked by a seven-run fourth inning, BIG EAST foe Rutgers jumped out to an early lead and held off the FGCU baseball team for a 12-8 win Tuesday evening in the first of a two-game set between the two clubs at Swanson Stadium.
Playing their ninth game of the season against a BCS conference foe, the Eagles fall to 6-9 while the Scarlet Knights improve to 6-7. The two teams will finish off the mid-week series on Wednesday evening with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m.
Rutgers pounded out 13 hits en route to a season-high 12 runs off a quartet of FGCU pitchers. The Scarlet Knights plated a combined 10 runs over the fourth and fifth innings, turning a 1-0 lead through three full innings into 11-2 edge through 4 ½ frames.
FGCU had a solid night at the plate, as well, pounding out nine hits, while working eight walks and three hit-by-pitches. The difference in the game was the Blue and Green’s 13 runners left on base, leaving a player stranded on the base paths in eight of nine innings, including at least two four times.
Five players accounted for FGCU’s nine hits, led by freshman Brady Anderson’s (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto County HS) 3-for-5 night that included two RBI. Senior Ryan Gebhart (Waco, Texas/Midway HS/Missouri) and junior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) each contributed multi-hit evenings. Gebhart now has a hit in 10 of the last 11 games, while Reeves reached base in 4-of-5 plate appearances, scoring two runs while driving in two.
Freshman Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) made his first career start and settled his nerves quickly with a scoreless first inning that ended with a strikeout to Rutgers’ cleanup batter Charlie Law. English, who was pinned with the loss, gave up a run in the second and finished his two frames on the hill with three walks and two strikeouts. The earned run given up by English was his first this year, as he tossed 4.2 scoreless innings over four relief appearances prior to tonight.
After the Eagles left five runners stranded in the second and third innings combined, Rutgers broke the game open with seven runs on six hits in the top of the fourth to take a commanding 8-0 lead. All six runs came off of junior lefty R.J. Brown (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale HS), who also hadn’t allowed a run before tonight, going five scoreless innings in three appearances out of the pen.
FGCU plated its first two runs of the game in its half of the fourth, but three more runs in the top of the fifth by the Scarlet Knights pushed the deficit to 11-2.
The Eagles started to mount a comeback in the bottom of the fifth and sixth, scoring five unanswered runs to cut Rutgers’ lead to 11-7. A two-run single by Anderson highlighted a three-run fifth for the Green and Blue, while sophomore Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) and Reeves drove in both runs in the sixth.
Sophomore Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) was FGCU’s most effective pitcher on the night, entering with two outs in the fifth. Cooney limited the Scarlet Knights to three hits and an unearned run over his 4.2 innings while striking out five, buying time for the Eagles to continue their comeback.
Unfortunately, FGCU’s best bid at tying the game came in the bottom of the eight with two outs and trailing 12-7. Another Reeves RBI single with two outs cut it to a four-run game, 12-8, before a hit-by-pitch put Eagles on first and second with two outs. Rutgers turned to junior Dan O’Neill to close out the game and the 6-foot-4 lefty delivered, getting the last out in the eighth and all three in the ninth for the save.
Wednesday’s Probable Starters
FGCU – LHP Kevin Bryant, Jr. (0-0, 13.50 ERA, 2.2 IP, 0 SO, 2 BB, .333 B/Avg.)
RUTGERS – RHP Tyler Gebler, Jr. (0-0, 7.00 ERA, 9.0 IP, 5 SO, 2 BB, .350 B/Avg.)
Live stats, in-game Twitter updates (@FGCUEagles and @FGCUBaseball), results and recaps from all FGCU events are available at www.FGCUAthletics.com.