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Eagles Edge Jacksonville, 4-2, on Saturday to Claim A-Sun Weekend Series Win
|Win: MURRAY (5-1)||6.2||7||2||2||3||3|
|Loss: ANDERSON (6-5)||6.0||7||4||4||5||2|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Using a three-run third inning to take the lead in the contest, the FGCU baseball team didn’t look back as it claimed the Atlantic Sun Conference series victory over visiting Jacksonville on Saturday evening at Swanson Stadium, 4-2.
Earning their seventh straight victory, the Eagles record moved to 29-16 this season, including a 13-7 mark in A-Sun action, while the Dolphins fell to 14-31 (7-13 A-Sun) on the year. After taking game one with JU on Friday night, 11-1, the Green and Blue now lead the all-time series between the schools 10-7.
“We knew it was going to be a good pitching matchup entering the night with (Michael) Murray going against (Chris) Anderson,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “Murray gave us a solid outing and got some great defensive plays behind him to help keep them off the board in some key situations. We also got some timely hitting on offense tonight which helped us pick up the win in a close ball game.”
Taking the game ball for the Eagles to begin the night, freshman right-hander Michael Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forest Hill HS) earned his fifth win (5-1) of the season after going 6.2 innings, allowing a pair of runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out three batters. The outing lowered Murray’s ERA to 2.79 this season as he now has 46 strikeouts and a .252 opponent batting average in 71.0 innings of work, good for second on the team.
Jacksonville threatened first in the top of the second, getting runners on the corners with two outs. A ball hit deep in the hole at short looked to score the runner from third, but junior shortstop Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) ranged to his right and made a highlight jump throw to first to end the inning and prevent the scoring opportunity.
The Dolphins eventually got on the board first, scoring in the top of the third inning. A one-out walk was followed by a double down the left field line to put a pair of runners in scoring position for Nathan Koslowski, who picked up the RBI on a groundout to second base.
FGCU responded with three runs in the home half of the third, getting the inning started with a single into left field from freshman Colton Bottomley (Davie, Fla./Marjorie Stoneman Douglas HS) and a sacrifice bunt from senior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary). Sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) tied the game at 1-1 on a single up the middle, plating Bottomley from second base. After back-to-back singles from Bednar and junior Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) loaded the bases for the Eagles, redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn) sent a hard ground ball single past the third baseman to score Suchy, and freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) put the Green and Blue up 3-1 with a sacrifice fly ball to centerfield that moved Bednar across the plate.
Rivera opened the Eagles’ sixth inning with a walk and moved to third after a sacrifice bunt from freshman Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) and a balk by JU’s junior righty starter Chris Anderson. Adding a RBI to his season totals, sophomore Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) laced a single through the left side to score Rivera for the 4-1 advantage.
Jacksonville got one back in the top of the seventh after holding runners at the corners with a double to left field, a ground ball to short and a walk. Zach Houck supplied the RBI for the Dolphins on a bloop single into left field to cut the deficit to 4-2.
The scoring chance continued in the seventh inning after a walk loaded the bases for JU, prompting an FGCU pitching change. Sophomore right-hander Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) entered in relief of Murray, and recorded the final out of the inning on a looking strikeout to leave the trio of runners stranded. English returned to the mound to finish the final two innings to earn his first save of the season in the 4-2 victory.
The Eagles scored four runs on eight hits on the night, led by Bednar going 3-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch and a run scored, in addition to a pair of highlight-reel plays at short. Suchy went 1-for-3 with a walk, one RBI and a run scored, while Bottomley provided a 1-for-2 game with a walk and a run scored. Additionally, Beisner hit 1-for-4 with a RBI and Rivera scored once while bringing in one RBI.
JU scored a pair of runs on nine hits in the game. Surrendering four runs on seven hits and five walks, Anderson (6-5) was hit with the loss in the game after six innings of work.
The series finale on Sunday is slated for a 1 p.m. start, as FGCU junior right-hander Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) (3-5, 2.89 ERA) is scheduled to go against JU sophomore right-hander Alex McRae (3-5, 3.97 ERA).
FGCU Probable Starters
Sun. - RHP Harrison Cooney, Jr. (3-5, 17 GP/1 GS, 2.89 ERA, 46.2 IP, 42 K, 22 BB, .240 B/Avg.)
JU Probable Starters
Sun. – RHP Alex McRae, So. (3-5, 13 GP/11 GS, 3.97 ERA, 70.1 IP, 34 K, 21 BB, .264 B/Avg.)
Live stats, in-game Twitter updates (@FGCU_Baseball), box score results and a recap of the action will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com following the game. Tickets for all home contests are available online at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com/tickets or by calling the FGCU ticket office at 239-590-7145.