FGCU Baseball Drops A-Sun Series Finale With USC Upstate
Sunday, April 01, 2012 | by Caleb Baker (@calebaker)
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Photo by Dennis Snyder
Florida Gulf Coast (10-18, 4-5 A-Sun)
USC Upstate (21-7, 7-2 A-Sun)
4/1/2012 | Spartanburg, S.C. | Attendance: 321
Florida Gulf Coast100000010262
USC Upstate00008020X1094
Win: LEE (4-2) 8.042106
Loss: BIXLER (2-4) 4.124363
MILLER (UPST) 422010
LIPUT (UPST) 412210

SPARTANBURG, S.C. – With the Atlantic Sun Conference weekend set even at one game apiece following a split of the two games on Saturday, USC Upstate earned the series victory over the FGCU baseball team with a 10-2 win in the finale on Sunday afternoon in Spartanburg, S.C.

Dropping the series finale, the Eagles’ record moved to 10-18 (4-5 A-Sun) this season, while USC Upstate improved to 21-7 (7-2 A-Sun) overall to stay atop the league standings. The Green and Blue’s all-time league record went to 78-39, and FGCU maintains a 9-6 lead in the all-time series with the Spartans, with a slight 5-4 edge on the road.

For the second straight contest, the Eagles put a run on the board in the top of the first inning. Senior Ryan Gebhart (Waco, Texas/Midway HS/Missouri) opened the inning with single to right field, and sophomore Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) reached first on an error during his sacrifice bunt. With one out in the inning, sophomore Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) sent a fielder’s choice to the shortstop and another error on the play allowed Gebhart to score for the 1-0 lead.

The Eagles’ lead would hold until the fifth inning when USC Upstate erupted for eight runs. The Spartans took the 8-1 lead on six hits and one FGCU error in the frame, highlighted by a two-RBI triple by Gaither Bumgardner and a two-RBI double from Brandon Patterson. USC Upstate eventually took a 10-1 lead in the game, as two more runs came across to score in the bottom of the seventh inning.

In the top of the eighth, the Green and Blue cut into the lead a bit with a home run off the bat of Gebhart. With one out in the inning, the centerfielder deposited his second longball of the season over the wall in right center to make it a 10-2 game. It proved to be the final tally as USC Upstate held the Eagles scoreless in their final chance at the plate, despite having a base-loaded situation with one out in the top of the ninth.

Sophomore left-hander Brandon Bixler (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) (2-4) was hit with the loss in the contest after going 4.1 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on two hits and six walks while striking out three.

FGCU scored two runs on six hits and four Upstate errors. Gebhart led the Eagles, going 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored while adding the home run. Freshman Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) added a 1-for-3 day, while Dwyer, freshman Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) and junior Tito Mendoza (Miramar, Fla./Cooper City HS/Cowley CC) each went 1-for-4.

USC Upstate scored 10 runs on nine hits and a pair of FGCU errors. Tossing eight innings and allowing two runs (one earned) on eight hits, junior right-hander Brandon Lee recorded six strikeouts while improving to 4-2 this season for the Spartans.

For the series, Dwyer and Anderson each hit .333, with Dwyer adding three RBI. Gebhart batted .273 through the three games, recording one RBI and three runs scored in addition to his home run.

The Eagles conclude their six-game road trip with a stop in Tallahassee, Fla. to take on No. 4 Florida State (24-4, 11-1 ACC) in a two-game mid-week series. The Seminoles enter the contest following a weekend sweep of ACC foe Virginia Tech (5-2, 2-1, 11-4) in Tallahassee. The Tuesday and Wednesday contests are each slated for a 6 p.m. first pitch.

A preview of the mid-week series, as well as, probable starters for both teams will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com on Monday afternoon.