2/26/2013 | Boca Raton, FL | Attendance: 382
BOCA RATON, Fla. – Trailing by four runs entering the ninth proved to be too much to overcome, as the No. 23 FGCU baseball team dropped a mid-week meeting with FAU, 9-8, on Tuesday evening at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla.
The loss snaps a four-game winning streak for the Eagles, as they move to 5-2 on the season. Meanwhile, the Owls’ record improved to 5-3 on the year, while reducing the FGCU lead in the all-time series to 7-3. The two squads will meet once more this season, when FAU travels to Swanson Stadium on April 9 at 6 p.m.
FAU opened its first chance at the plate with back-to-back singles and eventually loaded the bases on a two-out walk. The Owls took a 2-0 lead in the frame on another single up the middle by senior catcher Mike Spano.
The Eagles cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the third following a two-out single through the left side from junior Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS). Caught leaning at first base, Bednar was able to reach second base when FAU first baseman Mark Nelson was unable to make a clean exchange on his throw to second during the pickoff attempt. FGCU used the opportunity to its advantage when senior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) extended his hitting streak to seven games on an RBI single up the middle.
Reeves provided the game-tying RBI in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice bunt down the first base line. Freshman Colton Bottomley (Davie, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) reached on a throwing error by the shortstop to begin the inning, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from redshirt sophomore Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./Ferguson HS) and went to third on a single through the right side by Bednar. With runners on the corners and one away, Reeves executed the bunt attempt to bring Bottomley across the plate and tie the game at 2-2.
Back-to-back two-out walks to junior Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) and redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn) loaded the bases in the fifth, setting up sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) for a go-ahead two-RBI chopper over the third baseman’s head, as the Eagles took a 4-2 edge. Marking his first career RBI, freshman third baseman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) extended the lead to 5-2 in the frame with a single through the left side, as Beisner came in from second base.
The Owls reestablished the lead with a five-run sixth, opening the inning with a single to center field and an error at third base that put runners on first and second. Later in the inning with two away, back-to-back doubles knotted the game at 5-5 before another single allowed the Owls to take a one-run lead at 6-5. FAU plated one more in the frame on a single into right field, taking a 7-5 lead into the seventh.
A double down the left field line and a bunt single opened the seventh inning for FAU, which held the runners at the corners. The Owls pushed their lead to 8-5 when the runner from third crossed the plate on a wild pitch. FAU tacked on one more insurance run in the bottom of the eighth to hold a four-run lead entering the final frame.
The Eagles threatened to level the game in the top of the ninth after finding the bases loaded with no outs. Beisner made the score 9-6 with an RBI hit-by-pitch before a sacrifice fly from Suchy scored Reeves to make it a two-run game. The Green and Blue plated one more in the frame on an RBI single from Rivera, before stranding the tying and go-ahead runs at third and second base, respectively.
FGCU scored eight runs on 10 hits and one FAU error. Bednar went 3-for-5 with a stolen base and three runs scored in the contest. Suchy supplied a multi-hit night, going 2-for-4 with three RBI. Rivera recorded a 2-for-5 night, which included a pair of RBI. Walking twice, Reeves (1-for-2) also brought in two RBI while scoring once in the game.
Dealt the loss in the contest, sophomore right-hander Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) went 5.2 innings and allowed seven runs, just two earned, on eight hits with a pair of walks and three strikeouts.
The Eagles allowed a season-high nine runs on 12 hits, while committing one error. Redshirt junior Kevin Alexander (1-0) earned the victory after going 2.2 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on as many hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
FGCU now begins an 11-game homestand at Swanson Stadium, beginning with Manhattan on Friday, March 1 at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for all home contest are available online at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com/tickets or by calling the FGCU ticket office at 239-590-7145.