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A-Sun Weekend Sweep Belongs to FGCU with 12-2 Victory over NKU in Series Finale
|Win: COONEY (3-5)||6.0||2||0||0||1||5|
|Loss: BAGSHAW (1-8)||4.0||9||7||5||1||1|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – In its largest margin of victory of the season, the FGCU baseball team completed the Atlantic Sun Conference weekend series sweep of Northern Kentucky on Sunday afternoon at Swanson Stadium, defeating the Norse 12-2.
Sitting fourth in the A-Sun standings entering the day, the Eagles (25-16) improved to 11-7 in league action with the victory. The Norse exit Fort Myers with an 8-35 (3-15 A-Sun) overall mark this season. Marking the first ever meetings between the two squads this weekend, the Green and Blue also move ahead 3-0 in the all-time series.
“It was great to see the team come out today and finish the weekend with a win,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “Its tough to beat any team in three straight games, especially in conference play, so I have to hand it to the guys for staying focused and wrapping up the series with a win this afternoon.”
FGCU got on the board with runs in each of the first three innings, establishing a 4-0 edge. Junior Brandon Bednar’s (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) one-out walk in the first was followed by a double down the left field line by classmate Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) for the first run of the game. In the second inning, the Eagles moved ahead 2-0 when freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) began the frame with a double down the left field line and scored on a single into right field from freshman Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) in the next at-bat.
The Eagles’ lead doubled in the third after a single by sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) and a double by Bednar put both runners in scoring position for Dwyer. With a sacrifice fly to centerfield, Dwyer was able to score Suchy from third, and Bednar came in later with two outs in the inning on a fielding error by the NKU shortstop.
Extending the advantage with three runs in the fifth, the score line read 7-0 in favor of FGCU. Sending a double down the left field line to reach base, Bednar was brought across the plate again by Dwyer, who connected for a triple into the left center field alley. Redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn) was able to score Dwyer on a single into right field, and was later found on third base following a hit-by-pitch to Rivera and a wild pitch. Sophomore Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) plated the final run in the inning on a sacrifice fly ball to centerfield that scored Beisner.
FGCU erupted for five runs in the sixth inning to hold a 12-0 lead in the ballgame. After two quick outs in the inning, Dwyer walked and Beisner landed a single into right field to place runners on the corners. Rivera loaded the bases on a four-pitch walk, setting up a two-RBI single into left field from Selesky. On a single to right field by Tillery, a throwing error on the play to the plate allowed Rivera to score from third as Tillery and Selesky moved to second and third, respectively. The final two runs of the game for the Eagles came when redshirt sophomore Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./Ferguson HS) sent a ball into right field on the first pitch he saw, scoring both base runners.
The Norse scored their two runs in the contest in the eighth inning, when a leadoff walk to Anthony Vagnier was followed by a RBI double down the left field line by Zac Asman. With two outs in the inning, another double by Brett Cisper allowed Asman to score and narrow the deficit to 12-2.
Holding the Norse hitless through the first 4.1 innings, junior right-hander Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) (3-5) earned the victory after tossing six scoreless innings and allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out five of the 21 batters faced.
FGCU plated 12 runs on 15 hits and three NKU defensive errors. Dwyer was a perfect 3-for-3 on the day with a walk, one double, one triple, three RBI and two runs scored. Also recording a 3-for-3 day with three RBI, Selesky picked up a walk and also scored once. Going 2-for-4 with two doubles on the afternoon, Bednar scored three times in the game, adding a walk. Beisner also supplied a 3-for-5 game, which included one RBI and a pair of runs scored.
NKU scored two runs on five hits and one FGCU error. Starting the game for the Norse, senior right-hander Blake Bagshaw (1-8) was handed the loss after going four innings and allowing seven runs (five earned) on nine hits and a walk.
The Eagles completed the weekend sweep after taking game one on Friday, 6-1, behind a career-high 12 strikeouts over eight innings from junior right-hander Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS), and using a walk-off single from Beisner in the bottom of the 10th in game two for a 3-2 victory on Saturday.
For the weekend, the Eagles hit a combined .330 with 21 runs scored and 19 RBI with 10 extra-base hits. Recording a .778 average (7-for-9) with four walks, a pair of doubles and one triple over the trio of games, Dwyer added a team-high five RBI and scored four times, slugging 1.222 and reaching base at a .786 clip. Also starting all three contests, Beisner batted .571 (8-for-14) with two doubles, two runs scored and three RBI, while Bednar hit .462 (6-for-13) and scored a team-high five times with two RBI.
Up next for the Eagles is a trip to Miami, Fla. to face in-state foe FIU in non-conference action. In an effort to make up the rainout contest from Mar. 20, the two teams are scheduled to play a doubleheader on Wednesday with the first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. in the opening contest. A full preview of the double dip will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com on Tuesday.