Strong Eighth Inning Helps ETSU Past FGCU in Series Opener
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – In the opening contest of the three-game Atlantic Sun Conference set, ETSU used 21 hits and a 10-run eighth inning to secure a 16-4 victory over the FGCU baseball team on Friday night at Howard Johnson Field in Johnson City, Tenn.
FGCU moved to 13-14 (7-6 A-Sun) on the season, while ETSU improved its mark to 15-7 (7-4 A-Sun).
The Eagles jumped out to a early 1-0 lead in their first chance at the plate. With two outs in the inning, senior Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) jumped on a first pitch delivery for a double to left field. Following an intentional walk to senior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla./North Port HS/Pasco-Hernando CC), sophomore Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter's Secondary) brought in Roberson from second on a double to right field.
Leading off the second frame, freshman Sean Dwyer (Leesburg, Fla./Tavares HS) pushed the Blue and Green’s lead to 2-0 with his second collegiate home run, as the newcomer connected on a 1-0 pitch and sent it over the right center field wall.
ETSU cut the FGCU lead to 2-1 in the home half of the second inning. A two-out single by Clinton Freeman followed by a catcher’s interference placed runners on first and second for Matthew Scruggs, who plated Freeman from second base by landing a single into right field.
The Bucs moved ahead on the scoreboard following a three-run third inning. Bo Reeder doubled to left field and came around to score on double down the left field line by Andrew Green, leveling the score at 2-2. ETSU ended the inning holding a 4-2 advantage as Kerry Doane tripled to center field to score Green and was moved across the plate on a double to left field later in the frame.
Moving a runner across the plate in both the sixth and seventh frames, the Bucs pushed their lead to 6-2. A solo home run by Paul Hoilman in the sixth made it 5-2, and a double play ball in the seventh brought a runner in from third base and lifted the score to 6-2 in favor of ETSU.
In the Eagles’ side of the eighth inning, Maxfield added two runs with one swing of the bat on his team leading sixth round-tripper of the season. Following freshman Brandon Bednar’s (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) double to left center, Maxfield came to the dish with two outs and laced a 1-1 pitch over the fence in left field to lower the FGCU deficit to two runs, 6-4.
The Bucs took a commanding lead in their half of the eighth, as 10 runs were moved across the plate on eight hits and pair of errors in the frame. ETSU retired the Eagles in the top of the ninth to finalize the 16-4 outcome.
FGCU scored four runs on nine hits and were led by 2-for-4 nights from Bednar and Reeves, who added one run scored and one RBI, respectively. Each connecting for home runs, Maxfield went 1-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI, while Dwyer went 1-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI.
Junior right-hander Jason Forjet (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Nova HS) (1-2) was issued the loss in the contest after allowing five earned runs on 10 hits and four strikeouts in six innings on the hill.
John Long (2-3) was credited with the victory for ETSU after surrendering four earned runs on eight hits to go with eight strikeouts in 7.2 innings of work.
The two teams will be back in action for game two of the series on Saturday at 2 p.m. Results and recaps of the contest will be available at www.FGCUAthletics.com following the game.
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