3/7/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 394
WP | Mike Murray (3-0) – 8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 SO
LP | Joey Rocchietti (1-1) – 7.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO
SV | Brady Anderson (5) – 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Defending Atlantic Sun Pitcher of the Week Mike Murray took the mound on Friday night against the Manhattan Jaspers (1-7) with the task of stopping a season-long, four-game losing streak and he delivered in a big way with 8.0 stellar innings of work during which he struck out a season-high nine batters and guided the FGCU baseball team (7-7) to the 3-1 victory.
Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forrest Hill HS) allowed just two hits over his first eight innings of work before allowing two in the ninth. The 8.0 innings are a career-high for the sophomore right-hander, four hits allowed is a season low and his nine strikeouts are tied for second most in his career (10). This also marks the third-consecutive start for Murray without allowing an earned run. Combining last season’s start, Murray has now thrown 15.0 innings, struck out 13 and allowed just one run to Manhattan in his career.
Second baseman Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) was the kick-starter for the offense yet again on Friday night, putting in a 2-3 effort, scoring twice and swiping his A-Sun leading eighth stolen base of the season. The single-season record for stolen bases is 20, set by Josh Upchurch in 2008. No other Eagle collected multiple hits Friday evening as five others added one each to construct the seven FGCU hits.
“Murray came out tonight when we needed him to be our ace and absolutely delivered” head coach Dave Tollett added. “He is quickly becoming one of the best starters in our league and tonight he showed every reason why. We finally came through with some two-out hits and Murray was able to take care of business from there. It’s a good feeling to know you have a guy like that you can turn to when your team in going through a difficult stretch.”
The Green and Blue wasted no time putting a run up on the board in this one as Noll led off the bottom the first with a single and promptly stole second to put a runner in scoring position for Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) who doubled to deep left-center to bring home Noll easily.
Murray threw darts all night, working around the Manhattan order quickly the first time through, giving up just one hit and walking the only batter he would provide a free pass to all night. In the bottom half the Eagles would tack on another run when a Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) doubled to right, bringing Noll all the way around from first to give the Green and Blue a 2-0 lead.
Two runs was all the cushion Murray would need in this one as he continued to pin down Jaspers all night. FGCU added one more run in the sixth when Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) reached on an error in the infield and advanced to second on a groundout. Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) came to the plate and drove in Suchy for his fourth RBI of the season.
After striking out the side in the eighth Murray came back out to pitch the ninth in search of the first complete game of his career. His outing would come to a quick ending however following a trio of hits that brought around an unearned run. Brady Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto HS) came on and shut the door on the Manhattan rally to claim his league-leading fifth save of 2014 and preserve the 3-1 victory.
FGCU will be back in action tomorrow at Noon in a doubleheader with the Jaspers. The second game will begin approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one. The series with Manhattan will conclude on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 10 a.m. Tillery and Nick Deckert (Tallahassee, Fla./Tallahassee CC) will take the mound tomorrow with Deckert throwing game one and Tillery toeing the rubber in the second.