5/21/2014 | Fort Myers, FL. | Attendance: 562
BOX SCORE (PDF)
WP | Mike Murray (13-1): 6.1 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO
LP | David Trexler (6-4): 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 5 BB, 6 SO
SV | Zack Tillery (5): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The top-seeded FGCU baseball team (37-20, 19-8 A-Sun) opened up the 2014 Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship with a win, 5-3, over North Florida (22-30, 11-16 A-Sun) behind A-Sun Pitcher of the Year Mike Murray who out-dueled fellow First Team selection David Trexler at Swanson Stadium on Wednesday evening. The Eagles advance and will play at 8:15 p.m. on Thursday night opposite the winner of the Lipscomb/Jacksonville contest.
Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forrest Hill HS) worked through 6.1 innings, gave up eight hits, struck out one and allowed three runs bringing his A-Sun-best ERA to 1.85 and increasing his nation-leading win total to 13. The sophomore received plenty of timely run support in this one to help secure the victory. Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) came on in the ninth and secured his fifth save of the season to advance the Eagles with a first round win in the A-Sun Tournament for the first time since the 2012 season when they entered as the No. 6 seed.
Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) supplied the highlight of the night with a towering homerun over the left-center field wall to lead off the seventh - his sixth of the season. Overall Rivera went 1-2 at the plate with a pair of walks and two RBI. Colton Bottomley (Parkland, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) collected two hits and drove in a run while Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) and Cody Hoffner (Sebring, Fla./Broward College) each drove in a run of their own. Bottomley was the only bat in the lineup to pick up multiple hits as the Eagles would collect a total of eight. Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) went 1-2 at the plate to extend his hitting streak to 19 games.
“We took the first step toward our goal tonight,” head coach Dave Tollett added. “Now we need to re-focus for tomorrow and be ready to do this all over again. We can’t be satisfied with a big win but we can enjoy it tonight and get back to business tomorrow.”
Murray and Trexler both held the opposing lineup hitless through 2.5 innings but it would be Trexler who would blink first in this one. In the bottom of the third, FGCU strung together four-consecutive singles capped off by a Suchy single to left with the bases loaded to bring in the first run of the ball game. Rivera followed with a walk make it 2-0 and with one out two batters later it was Hoffner who lifted a sacrifice fly to right to drive in Suchy and make it 3-0 early.
North Florida answered with two runs of its own in the top of the fourth but the Eagles answered back in the bottom half. Gage Morey (West Palm Beach, Fla./PB Central) singled to lead off the fourth and advanced all the way to third on a sacrifice bunt allowing Bottomley with two outs later in the inning to single up the middle and drive in the run to make it 4-2.
The stalemate continued until the seventh when Murray put runners on first and third with one out. Andris Gonzalez (Miami, Fla./Indian River State College) came on to face the lefty Ervin who grounded a ball up the middle to Noll to flipped the ball to second for the second out, allowing the run to score from third. Now with just a 4-3 lead, Sterling Koerner (Fort Pierce, Fla./John Carrol HS) came in from the bullpen to face the nation’s batting average leader, Drew Weeks. Koerner would induce a groundout to Noll to end the threat.
Rivera led off the seventh with his homerun to make it 5-3 off the new UNF pitcher and the bullpen took over from there. Koerner and Tillery combined to keep the Ospreys scoreless the rest of the way to secure the victory.
Kennesaw State rallied from a three-run deficit in the eighth inning to secure an 11-7 victory against ETSU in 10 innings on Brennan Morgan's walk-off grand slam. Morgan finished the game with five RBIs as he recorded a 4-for-4 effort at the plate.
With 14 hits on the day, Stetson snapped a three-game losing streak in the Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship as the Hatters upset the second-seeded Mercer Bears, 7-5. Stetson's hot streak vs. A-Sun foes continued as the Hatters picked up their seventh win in past nine games against conference opponents.
The 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship is being generously sponsored by Raymond Building Supply, The News Press, Wayne Wiles Floor Coverings, Culver’s, TECO Peoples Gas, Applebee’s, Naples Daily News, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McDonald’s, Beef O’ Brady’s, Allen Concrete and Masonry, Jason’s Deli and Youngquist Brothers Rock.
Full coverage of each game during the tournament including live stats and video can be found at FGCUAthletics.com/asunbaseball. The championship game on Sunday can be seen on ESPN3. If you can’t reach a computer, follow @FGCU_Baseball on Twitter or “like” FGCU Baseball on Facebook for daily news, photos and a constant stream of live updates during each game.
Tickets to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship are now available. General admission day passes are available for $10 and tournament passes can be purchased for $35. Reserved seating day passes are available for $15 and tournament reserved seating passes are available for $55. For more information and additional deals, visit FGCUathletics.com/tickets, or call the ticket office at 239-590-7145.