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Eagles Push Win Streak to 10 Games with Doubleheader Sweep of FAMU
|Florida Gulf Coast||1||1||1||2||7||1||0||13||21||1|
|Win: BIXLER (5-3)||6.0||3||3||2||1||8|
|Loss: JOHNAKIN (0-2)||4.0||12||8||8||3||2|
|Florida Gulf Coast||2||4||1||1||0||3||2||13||13||1|
|Win: TILLERY (4-1)||3.0||1||0||0||1||3|
|Loss: FLEMING (0-3)||1.2||4||6||6||6||3|
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Extending its winning streak to an Atlantic Sun Conference season-best 10-straight games, the FGCU baseball team took both games of the Wednesday non-conference doubleheader with Florida A&M in Tallahassee, Fla., defeating the Rattlers 13-3, 13-4.
The two wins pushed FGCU’s record to 32-16 this season while FAMU fell to 7-44 on the year.
“It was nice to pick up a pair of wins in a midweek doubleheader here this afternoon,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “We have a very big conference series coming up this weekend at UNF and I was happy that the guys kept their focus on the tasks at-hand today and were able to get wins in both of the games.”
Opening game one for the Eagles on the mound, junior left-hander Brandon Bixler (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) improved to 5-3 after six innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on three hits and a walk while striking out eight of the 23 batters faced. Through 11 appearances and 48.1 innings on the bump this season, Bixler matches a team-high with 63 strikeouts and holds the lowest opponent batting average on the squad at .188.
Runs came across the plate for the Eagles in each of the first six innings, starting with a single from senior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) and a one-out single from junior Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) that landed runners on the corners in the first inning. The Eagles got their first run on the board with a RBI infield single to the shortstop by redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn).
The Eagles lead moved to 2-0 in the second when a double to left field from freshman Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) was followed by a two-out RBI double from Reeves to left center.
Another tally came in for the Green and Blue in the third after a walk to freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) followed up back-to-back singles from junior Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) and Beisner to load the bases. Selesky made good of the RBI opportunity with a sacrifice fly ball to left field that scored Dwyer for the three-run advantage.
Reeves opened the FGCU fourth with a single to left center and sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) came through with a single to the shortstop in the next at-bat. A fly out to right field allowed Reeves to advance to third and Suchy moved into scoring position by stealing second. Later in the inning with two outs, Beisner drove in both runners on a single into centerfield to give the Eagles a 5-0 edge.
The lead swelled to 12-0 with seven runs in the fifth inning, starting with a two-run home run off the bat of sophomore Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS). It marked the first home run of the year and second career longball for the Naples, Fla. product. The final three runs in the frame came with the bases loaded and two away, as Selesky cleared the bags on a double into right field.
An infield error, an infield single and a walk loaded the bases for FAMU in the bottom of the sixth and a single up the middle from Reginald Grant allowed the Rattlers to score their first run of the game. Consecutive groundouts in the next to two plate appearances allowed FAMU score twice more in the inning and cut the deficit to 13-3 heading the seventh.
Redshirt freshman Clint Knoblauch (Wellington, Fla./Wellington HS) closed out the seven-inning run-rule with a pair of strikeouts in a hitless inning of relief work.
All nine Eagles recorded at least one hit in the opening contest, combining to match a season-best 13 runs on a season-high 21 hits. Reeves’ 5-for-5 day with three runs scored and one RBI led all hitters, while Beisner supplied a 4-for-5 afternoon that included three RBI and one run scored. Selesky was 3-for-4 with four RBI and a pair of runs scored, and Tillery’s 2-for-5 game included a home run, one run scored and two RBI. With two in the game, Bednar (2-for-5) recorded the only other multi-RBI game, adding one run scored.
FAMU scored three runs on three hits and one FGCU error. Sophomore righty Javon Johnakin (0-2) took the loss after going four innings and allowing eight runs on 12 hits and three walks with two strikeouts.
In game two, the Eagles bats stayed hot, taking a 2-0 lead after the first inning. Reeves began the game with hit-by-pitch followed by walks to Suchy and Dwyer to load the bases. With two outs, Rivera delivered the first run on an infield hit up the middle and the Eagles scored the second on a bases loaded walk to Selesky.
The Green and Blue tallied four more runs in the second to take a commanding 6-0 advantage. Junior Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) led the inning off with a walk and reached third on a double to center by Suchy. With runners in scoring position, Bednar plated both on a double to right center. In the next at-bat, Dwyer drove Bednar in on a two-run homerun over the right field wall.
FGCU tacked on another run in the third with back-to-back two-out hits. Suchy doubled over the right fielder’s head and Bednar drove him in with a single into left field, to give the Eagles a 7-0 lead.
The Green and Blue pushed across another run in the fourth after Rivera singled to left center and moved to second on a ground out to first by Selesky. With the runner standing on second, freshman Colton Bottomley (Davie, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) drove him in on a single through the right side for an 8-0 game in favor of FGCU.
FAMU cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fifth with four runs. The Rattlers loaded the bases for Bryce Farrar, who drove in the first run for FAMU with a ground out to SS. After a wild pitch plated another for FAMU, back-to-back hits by Grant and Bennie Robinson narrowed the FGCU lead to 8-4.
The Eagles got three runs back in the top of the sixth after Dwyer reached on a walk and later scored on a base hit to left by Beisner that was misplayed by the left fielder and rolled to the warning track for the first run. The second and third runs later came across on a bases-loaded walk to Reeves followed by a single through the left side by Suchy for the 11-4 score.
In its final chance at the plate, Dwyer led off the seventh with his second home run of the game, and his fifth of the season, to make it 12-4. A single from Beisner and walks to Selesky and Bottomley setup a sacrifice fly for Valencia as the final run of the 13-4 ball game came in for the Green and Blue.
In a scheduled short outing, Tillery recorded his fourth win of the year (4-1) after going three innings and allowing just one hit and a walk, to go along with three strikeouts.
FGCU scored 13 runs on as many hits and three FAMU errors in game two. Eight of the nine starters record at least one hit in the second game, led by Suchy going 3-for-4 with three runs scored and one RBI. Highlighted by his pair of home runs, Dwyer provided three RBI and three runs scored in a 2-for-4 game which included a walk.
FAMU scored four runs on five hits and one FGCU error. Bran Fleming (0-3) was issued the loss after going 1.2 innings and surrendering six runs on four hits and six walks.
Up next for the Eagles is a trip to Jacksonville, Fla. to take on A-Sun co-leader North Florida (34-14, 15-6 A-Sun) in a critical league three-game series which starts on Friday at 6 p.m. The Eagles sit just one game back of first place with a 14-7 A-Sun record. A full preview of the crucial A-Sun weekend set will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com on Thursday.