3/4/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 360
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team (6-7) fell behind Michigan (3-8-1) early and despite multiple come back efforts were never able to complete the climb as the Wolverines came away with a 6-4 victory on Tuesday afternoon at Swanson Stadium.
Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) took the ball for the Eagles, making his second start of the season. He would toss 4.0 innings of three-hit ball, allowing just two runs and striking out two. The two runs however would prove fatal to English’s record who took his first loss of the season when it was all said and done.
Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) and Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) both sprayed a season-high three hits and combined to drive in three of the Eagles’ four runs. Blake Berger (Jacksonville, Fla./Santa Fe College) collected his first RBI of the season despite an 0-3 effort. Adam Eggnatz (Tampa, Fla./Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate HS) was the only other FGCU player to register multiple hits, his first multi-hit game of the season.
“We had every chance to comeback and couldn’t make the extra play,” head coach Dave Tollett added. “Sooner or later we have to learn to finish those games. This is a young club going through growing pains. We had two starters out with a stomach virus but we have to work through those things.”
English worked a clean first and survived the second before the Wolverines finally broke through in the third. A single and a double to lead things off put runners on second and third with no one out for Zach Zott who grounded out to short to drive home the first run of the ball game. The second run would come across in similar fashion to put the Eagles down 2-0.
FGCU would answer back in the bottom half of the third with a run of their own when Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) doubled to deep left and came in to score on one of Suchy’s three singles.
Sterling Koerner (Fort Pierce, Fla./John Carrol HS) relieved English in the fifth and surrendered two more runs, extending the Michigan lead to 4-1.
The status quo would hold until the bottom of the eighth when FGCU made their first run at the lead. Gage Morey (W. Palm Beach, Fla./PB Central HS) led off with a single and would advance to second when Suchy hit by a pitch. Rivera came up and singled through the left side to bring home Morey and put runners and first and second no one out. Representing the go-ahead run, Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) walked to load the bases. A strikeout and a Berger sac fly would bring up Eggnatz with two out and a 4-3 deficit. He singled with a bunt to re-load the bases but a ground-out from the next batter doomed the rally and sent the game into the ninth with Michigan leading 4-3.
The combination of Ryan Atwood (Austin, Texas/Navarro College) and Brady Anderson (Arcardia, Fla./DeSoto HS) would give up two more runs to the Wolverines in the ninth and forcing the offense to deal with a three-run deficit in the bottom half of the inning.
Two quick strikeouts seemed to doom the hopes of the Green and Blue but Suchy singled for the third time to keep the game alive and moved up to second then third on wild pitches. Rivera drove in his second run of the ball game with a drive down the left field line. Representing the tying run this time, Tillery struck out to end the rally.
The Eagles drop their fourth-straight game and third-in-a-row to a Big Ten opponent. Their 11 hits are the most in a loss this season.
FGCU will return to the diamond on Friday to take on Manhattan in the first of a four-game set taking place throughout the weekend. Friday’s affair will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a 1 p.m. doubleheader scheduled for Saturday and concluding with a 1 p.m. solo game on Sunday.
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 239-590-7145.