3/2/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 392
3/2/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 328
FORT MYERS, Fla. – In the first doubleheader of the 2013 campaign, the No. 23 FGCU baseball split the pair of contests with visiting Manhattan on Saturday afternoon at Swanson Stadium. The Eagles took game one, 1-0, before falling to the Jaspers, 6-5, in the day’s second contest.
Following the split, the Eagles record moved to 7-3 on the year, while the Jaspers improved to 1-5. The two squads have agreed to move the series finale to a 12 p.m. start on Sunday afternoon.
Behind seven scoreless innings from freshman right-hander Michael Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forest Hill HS) and a solo home run from junior left fielder Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS), the Green and Blue claimed the opening contest, 1-0.
Improving to 2-0 on the season, Murray opened the game for the Eagles, going seven scoreless frames and surrendering just a pair of hits and one walk while striking out four hitters. On the season, the West Palm Beach, Fla. product now holds a 1.56 ERA with eight strikeouts in 17.1 innings of work.
FGCU was held out of the runs column through the first five innings, before Dwyer stepped to the plate with one out in the sixth. With a full count in the at-bat, the Tavares, Fla. native connected for a solo home run that wrapped around the right field foul pole to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead in the contest. The round-tripper was Dwyer’s second of the year, and also the second go-ahead home run for the third-year player this season. This lone tally proved to be enough, as the Green and Blue maintained the 1-0 lead for the remainder of the contest.
Senior lefty R.J. Brown (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale HS) closed the final two innings for the Eagles, earning his second save of the season. Allowing no runs or hits, Brown added a pair of strikeouts to his season total.
The Eagles tallied six hits in the opening contest while committing a pair of defensive errors.
Senior right-hander John Soldinger (0-2) went eight innings for the Jaspers, walking four and recording three strikeouts in the loss.
In the second contest of the afternoon, FGCU established a 5-0 cushion over the first four innings. A one-out single by senior catcher Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Seconday) was later followed by two-out singles from senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn) and sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) to load the bases. Freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Barron Collier HS) gave the Green and Blue a one-run lead in the first inning on a hit-by-pitch in the next at-bat.
Four more runs came in for the Eagles in the home side of the fourth after a leadoff single to left field by junior Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep), who moved to second on an errant through during redshirt sophomore Alex Diaz’s (Miami, Fla./Ferguson HS) sacrifice attempt. FGCU found the bases loaded courtesy of a bunt single down the third base line from freshman Colton Bottomley (Davie, Fla./Marjory Stoneman HS). The Eagles cleared the bases on the very next pitch when junior Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) roped a three-RBI double down the left field line, as the lead climbed to 4-0. One more run came across in the inning, when Bednar crossed the plate on a sac fly to left field from Dwyer.
The Jaspers plated their first three runs in the contest over the fifth and sixth innings, to narrow the FGCU lead to 5-3. The score remained intact heading to the ninth inning.
Opening the final frame with a single up the middle, an infield error and a walk to load the bases, Manhattan held the tying and go-ahead runs on the base paths. Back-to-back punchouts by junior righty Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) put the Eagles an out away from the victory, however, a throwing error to first on the final out allowed the Jaspers to bring a pair of runs in and level the game at 5-5. Manhattan eventually took the lead in the frame with a single deep in the hole, to hold a 6-5 lead entering the final half inning.
The Eagles went away quietly in the home side of the frame, as Manhattan earned its first win of the season, 6-5.
FGCU scored five runs on 14 hits and one Manhattan error. Beisner was a perfect 4-for-4 in the second game, while Reeves went 3-for-4 with a run scored. Bednar also supplied a 1-for-5 game which included a run scored and three RBI. Suchy and Valencia each went 2-for-4, with Valencia adding a run scored.
Not to be lost in the effort was the pitching performance by redshirt freshman Clint Knoblauch (Wellington, Fla./Wellington HS), who made his collegiate debut in game two. Starting the contest for the Eagles, the Wellington, Fla. native held the Jaspers without a hit through the first 4.2 frames. Knoblauch finished the contest with four strikeouts and one walk, surrendering three runs on as many hits in a 5.1 inning no-decision.
The two teams are set to close the four-game series on Sunday afternoon at 12 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.
Sunday, Mar. 3 – 12:00 p.m.
FGCU – TBA
MAN – LHP Matt Jordan, Sr. (0-1, 54.00 ERA, 1.0 IP, 1 K, 3 BB, .571 B/Avg.)
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.