2/15/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 120
2/15/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 231
WP | Nick Deckert (1-0) – 5.0 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO
LP | Steve Moyers (0-1) – 5.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 5 BB, 3 SO
SAVE | None
WP | Lou Distasio (1-0) – 6.0 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO
LP | Mario Leon (0-1) – 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
SAVE | Brad Applin (1) – 3.0 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU Baseball team (2-1) mounted a consistent offensive effort in game one, claiming a 7-1 victory, but allowed errors to plague their evening set with Rhode Island (1-2) as the Rams took home a 6-5 win to avoid the Saturday sweep and crate a chance to split the season-opening series.
Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) put on a show in game one going 2-3 with a pair of RBI’s, two runs scored and three stolen bases. Mike Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) drove in a pair of runs last night and continued that hot start on Saturday going 3-6 with three RBI and two runs scored over the two games. He is now 5-9 this season, has driven in five of FGCU’s 19 runs and is the only player on the roster to drive in at least one run in each of the first three games.
Nick Deckert (Tallahassee, Fla./Tallahassee CC) threw five shutout innings in his FGCU debut, striking out four but making things interesting on more than one occasion. The Tallahassee native recorded the first two outs of an inning more than once before give up his hits, of which he ended up allowing six, but always came up with the big strikeout to work out of the jam. The lefty would best Rhody’s Steve Moyers who posted a 1.78 ERA in 14 appearances for the Rams last season.
FGCU’s Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) took the ball in game two and fell victim to errors from the defense behind him. In all, the Green and Blue would commit six errors in the evening tilt that would more than help Rhode Island construct its six runs. Mario Leon (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast HS) would take the loss in his first appearance as an Eagle without allowing an earned run in his two innings of work.
"We didn't play very well (in game two)" head coach Dave Tollett added after the game. "It's only our third game, we had six errors and some miscommunications and that really hurt us. We should have won the ball game. Rhode Island is very good. They have a solid club with decent pitching. We're two very equal teams right now. We executed well in game one, we had a better plan. We came out a little flat in game two and after winning two in a row I was a little worried about that but we have a young club."
The action got started in the bottom of the second inning in game one when left-fielder Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) got hit by a pitch to lead off. Designated hitter Kevin Young (Ponte Verde Beach, Fla./Ponte Verde Beach HS) followed with a walk bringing up Ryan O’Malley (San Jose, Ca./College of San Mateo) who would sacrifice the runners to second and third giving Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./John A. Ferguson) an opportunity to make something happen with runners in scoring postion. The shortstop worked a walk instead to load the bases for the top of the order. Adam Eggnatz (Tampa, Fla./Middle Georgia College) fouled out to shallow left leaving the fate of the rally in the hands of Noll who was already 1-1 with a pair of stolen bases in the first. Noll worked another walk to drive in the first run of the game but that’s all the Eagles would produce in the second as a Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) groundout would let the Rams off the hook.
Deckert picked up the first two outs of the third with the help of a 4-6-3 double play but back-to-back hits put runners on second and third for Rhody with two down. A big strikeout however would stop the two-out rally and keep the Eagles in front.
With two out and a runner on first in the bottom half of the third, Young came to the plate and drove a ball deep in the gap in right center for a double that would score Selesky all the way from first and give the Green and Blue a 2-0 lead. The Eagles would strand two more runners in the frame however, turning the ball back over to Deckert.
Deckert continued the bend-not-break trend in the fourth, picking up two quick outs but giving up back-to-back hits to put the tying run on base. A balk would advance the runners but once again the Tallahassee native came away unscathed, preserving the 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, to lead off, Suchy triples to deep left-center for the second time in as many nights. Valencia then flies out to deep right to sacrifice Suchy home and push the lead to 3-0.
The Rams would score their first run in the top half of the sixth but with one out in the bottom, Diaz singled past the URI third baseman and would move up to second on an Eggnatz ground-out. Noll came to the plate with two outs and continued his hot start, dropping a single into shallow right, driving in Diaz. Noll would move up to second on the throw home. Rivera extended the lead further with a double down the left field line that drove in Noll to bring the score to 5-1, FGCU, through six.
The Eagle offense continued to tack on runs in the seventh, this time with a two-out rally. Young sprayed a screamer through the middle followed up by a bloop single in front of the center fielder from O’Malley, bringing up Diaz who would send his second hit of the game down the left field line for a double scoring Young and extending the FGCU lead to 6-1.
With the Green and Blue firmly holding on to a 7-1 lead following a Suchy sacrifice fly, Liam Rafferty (Ashburnham, Mass./Sacred Heart Univ.) came on for his first relief appearance of the season and sat down the Rams without a fight in the ninth to secure the win in game one.
Game two began relatively smoothly with English working quickly through the URI order in the first two innings. Suchy kept his hot bat rolling in the bottom half of the second with a double down the left field line in his first at bat of game two. Valencia came to the plate and lifted a long fly ball to deep left that would pop out of the glove of the Rhody left-fielder on the warning track allowing Suchy to circle and score for the first run of the ball game. Rhode Island starter Lou Distasio would escape the second without further damage.
The top of the fifth is where the FGCU gloves began to lose consistency. Rivera struggled to track throws to first base in the setting sun. With runners on second and third and no out, Rhody’s Matin Taveras doubled to right to give the Rams a 2-1 advantage. A second Rivera error allowed a third run to score followed up by Noll committing a fielding error but fortunately English was able to induce a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the inning with a 3-1 deficit.
FGCU brought the lead down to one in the fifth but it would tie the score in the sixth. Rivera was able to stretch a double out of a high fly ball that would fall in front of charging left and center fielders and advance to third on a wild pitch. Another Suchy sac fly would tie the game.
Three more errors in the seventh resulted in three more Rhode Island runs and this time the Eagles were unable to dig themselves out of the hole. Rhody errors helped the Green and Blue pick up two runs in the seventh to come close but URI closer Brad Applin shut the door from then on to secure the 6-5 victory.
Brady Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto HS) came on in the eighth to make his first appearance of the season and kept the Rams at bay giving up just one hit and striking out two.
The Eagles will conclude the series with their A-10 foe on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Swanson Stadium. Brad Labozzetta (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland HS) is scheduled to take the ball for the Green and Blue in his first outing since undergoing Tommy John surgery in the fall of 2012. He will square off with Ty Sterner who posted an 0-2 record in 2013 with a 5.32 ERA in 15 appearances.
Single-game tickets for FGCU Baseball are available at a cost of $6 for adults and $3 for children. Season tickets are also available. For more ticket information and additional deals, visit FGCUathletics.com/tickets, or call or visit the ticket office at 2B39-590-7145.