Florida Gulf Coast
2/16/2013 | Sarasota, Fla. | Attendance: 820
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SARASOTA, Fla. – After holding a four-run lead early in the game, the FGCU baseball team squandered its advantage late in the game, falling to Notre Dame, 6-5, in the second contest at the Snowbird Baseball Classic at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla. on Saturday afternoon.
The loss levels the Eagles record at 1-1 on the young season, while Notre Dame picks up the victory in its first contest of 2013. The all-time series between the two clubs now sits at 1-1, as FGCU claimed victory over the Irish, 5-3, in 2007 while still a Division II member.
The FGCU offense came alive in the top of the 3rd, establishing a 4-0 lead on the Irish. Junior catcher Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) opened the frame with a single into left field and moved to third on a bloop double into right field from classmate Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS). Senior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter's Secondary) broke the deadlock with another single into left field to plate Valencia from third and advance Bednar. Junior left fielder Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) connected for a sacrifice fly into left field to score Bednar, and was quickly followed with an RBI line drive double into left center by sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) that moved Reeves across the plate from first base. The Green and Blue lead climbed to four runs when redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn) laced a ball off the left field fence to bring in Suchy.
Notre Dame cut the deficit to 4-1 in the home side of the third on an RBI walk, after finding the bases loaded off back-to-back singles and a one-out hit-by-pitch. The Irish then made it a 4-2 game in their side of the fourth on a solo home run to left field off the bat of junior first baseman Trey Mancini. After the Irish cut the lead to 4-3 on a sacrifice fly in the fourth, the Green and Blue extended its lead to 5-3 in the fifth inning on a leadoff home run from Bednar over the left field wall. The round-tripper marked the second career longball for the Stuart, Fla. product.
In the eighth inning, the Eagles appeared to extend their advantage to 6-3 on an infield single from freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) that scored Beisner from second base. However, after an umpires’ meeting, it was determined that Beisner interfered with the infielder, negating the run and reestablishing the FGCU lead at 5-3.
With one out in the bottom of the ninth, Notre Dame tied the game at 5-5 with a two-run home run to deep centerfield off the bat of junior Eric Jagielo, forcing extra innings. The Irish eventually plated the decisive tally in the bottom of the 10th on an RBI single through the right side, scoring the runner from second base.
Junior right-hander Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) started the game on the mound for the Eagles and tossed three innings, allowing three earned runs on five hits and three walks while recording one strikeout. Senior lefty R.J. Brown (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale HS) provided three innings of scoreless relief, allowing three hits and issuing just one walk. Junior RHP Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) (0-1) finished the final 3.2 innings of the game, surrendering three runs on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts in the losing effort.
Notre Dame right-hander Sean Fitzgerald went five innings and allowed five runs on seven hits, with one walk and one strikeout. Earning his first victory of the year, righty Nick McCarthy (1-0) also went five innings, allowing four hits and totaling four strikeouts.
At the plate, Valencia went 3-for-4 with a run scored and Bednar hit 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Suchy and Reeves each went 1-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Continuing his solid play at the dish, Beisner went 3-for-5 with an RBI on the afternoon.
The Eagles will be back in action on Sunday afternoon as they close out their three games at the Snowbird Classic with a rematch against St. John’s at 1 p.m. The Green and Blue defeated the Red Storm on Friday, 6-0, in the 2013 opener for both clubs. FGCU intends to throw junior left-hander Brandon Bixler (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) in the contest, while St. John’s has yet to announce its starter.
Fans can get updates and information on FGCU baseball all season long by visiting www.FGCUATHLETICS.com or by following the team on twitter @FGCU_Baseball. Additional information on the Snowbird Baseball Classic is available at www.snowbirdbaseball.info.