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Four-Run Fourth Helps New Mexico Take Series Opener with FGCU
|Florida Gulf Coast||0||0||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||7||0|
|Win: HOUSE (4-3)||7.0||6||3||3||2||5|
|Loss: KNAPP (5-4)||7.2||12||6||5||3||3|
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – After jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the second inning, the FGCU baseball team saw New Mexico answer with the final six runs of the game, including a four-run third, to fall, 6-3, in the series opener between the two teams in front of 1,347 fans Friday afternoon at Isotopes Park.
The Eagles have dropped three games in a row and now stand at 15-23 overall, while the Lobos have won three straight to improve to 20-18 on the year. The teams will take the field for game two on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. The game can be heard live on ESPN 101.7 The Team in Albuquerque or www.1017TheTeam.com.
Sophomore right-hander Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) was touched up for all six runs, including five earned, and 12 hits. Four of the runs and half of the hits (6) came in the game-changing fourth inning for New Mexico. Knapp, who is a two-time Atlantic Sun Pitcher of the Week this season, slips to 5-4 with the loss and holds a slim 2.28 ERA.
New Mexico right-hander Austin House fought through FGCU’s three-run third inning en route to going seven full innings to improve to 4-3. House struck out five, walked two and gave up six hits. Junior righty Hobie McClain worked the final inning of the game for his second save of the season, getting the last out with the potential game-tying run at the dish.
Reigning A-Sun Player of the Week sophomore Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) supplied his fourth multi-RBI game in his last five contests to lead the seven-hit afternoon for the Green and Blue. Dwyer went 2-for-4 with a two-out, two-run double in the top of the second. Sophomore Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) went 2-for-3 for his ninth multi-hit game. Batting in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, redshirt freshman Kirby Retzer (Boca Raton, Fla./Boca Raton HS) drove in FGCU’s other run with an RBI single to start the two-out, three-run rally.
Retzer’s single to right field in the top of the third plated the first run of the game, scoring redshirt freshman Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./John A. Ferguson HS), who also singled to right. Dwyer wasted little time giving FGCU a 3-0 lead, extending his hit streak to six games on the second pitch of his at-bat with a two-run double to left field.
The Lobos cut it to a 3-1 game in the bottom half of the third, but took their first lead of the contest with a four-run fourth. Two of the runs came with two outs, as New Mexico had six hits in the frame en route to leading 5-3.
Trailing 6-3, FGCU’s best chance to tie the game or take the lead came in the sixth when it loaded the bases with two outs. Dwyer and Bednar singled in back-to-back at-bats, while a two-out walk to freshman Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) loaded the bases. The team leader in home runs (6) and RBI (30), sophomore Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) struck out on four pitches from House to end the threat.
The Eagles put a runner on base in each of the final three innings, culminating with two on in the ninth, but were unable to bring any across for the 6-3 final.
Eight of the nine positional starters for the Lobos finished the game with a hit. Sophomore third baseman D.J. Peterson, who entered the game second in the nation with a .452 average, went 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI.