Late Runs Push Kennesaw State Past No. 24 FGCU to Open A-Sun Weekend Set
|Florida Gulf Coast||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||1||7||0|
|Win: JANAS (4-0)||7.0||7||1||1||1||6|
|Loss: KNAPP (6-1)||7.0||8||2||2||2||0|
KENNESAW, Ga. – No. 24 FGCU dropped the first of three weekend baseball contests at Kennesaw State, 6-1, as the Atlantic Sun Conference slate continued on Friday evening in Kennesaw, Ga.
Sitting in a share of third place in the league standings entering the weekend, the Eagles record dropped to 18-8 overall and 4-3 in the A-Sun Conference. Meanwhile, the Owls, who sat atop the league standings alongside Mercer coming into the game, improved to 18-13 (7-3 A-Sun) overall.
KSU got on the board early, plating one in the bottom of the first. Following a single and a sacrifice bunt, a single through the left side by redshirt senior Peyton Hart allowed senior Andy Almonte to cross the plate, after advancing to third on a groundout in the prior at-bat.
It wasn’t until the top of the seventh inning that the Eagles were able to level the game at 1-1. Redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn) opened the inning with a double down the left field line and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS). Sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) made good of the scoring opportunity, connecting for a single to the shortstop to bring Beisner in from third.
The level score only held until the home half of the inning, when the Owls found a runner on third following a walk, a sacrifice bunt down the third base line and a balk. Freshman Kal Simmons was able to bring in the go-ahead run on a RBI single into left field to give KSU the 2-1 edge.
In what proved to be the last scoring threat in the contest for the Green and Blue, the bases were loaded with two outs in the top of the eighth. Senior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) opened the inning with a single to right field and was followed by a walk to junior Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS). Rivera later walked in the frame with two away, but a strikeout in the next at-bat quieted the FGCU scoring chance.
The Owls added four more runs in their side of the eighth to take a 6-1 advantage before retiring the Eagles in order in the top half of the ninth.
Hit with his first loss on the year, junior right-hander Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) (6-1) went seven innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and a pair of walks. It marked the first loss in the last 13 starts for the Port Charlotte, Fla. product, who has collected 10 wins in those outings. Through 52.2 innings this season, Knapp holds a 1.20 ERA with 37 strikeouts, while allowing just seven walks.
The Eagles scored one run on seven hits and one KSU error. Reeves went 2-for-4 in the contest while Beisner was one of five other Eagles to record one hit in the game, adding the lone run scored.
KSU scored six runs on 13 hits, led by Almonte going 3-for-5 with a run scored. Starting the game for the Owls, junior right-hander Stephen Janas improved to 4-0 after going seven innings and allowing one run on seven hits and one walk, adding six strikeouts.
The two teams will be back in action on Saturday afternoon beginning at 2 p.m. Freshman righty Michael Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forest Hill HS) (3-1, 3.15 ERA) will take the mound against KSU junior righty Travis Dean (3-4, 4.00 ERA).
Probable Pitching Matchups
Saturday, April 6 – 2 p.m.
FGCU – RHP Michael Murray, Fr. (3-1, 3.15 ERA, 40.0 IP, 19 K, 7 BB, .245 B/Avg.)
KSU – RHP Travis Dean, Jr. (3-4, 4.00 ERA, 36.0 IP, 30 K, 20 BB, .220 B/Avg.)
Sunday, April 7 – 1 p.m.
FGCU – LHP Brandon Bixler, Jr. (2-2, 2.42 ERA, 26.0 IP, 33 K, 16 BB, .186 B/Avg.)
KSU – LHP Kevin Kyle, Sr. (5-2, 2.40 ERA, 45.0 IP, 31 K, 7 BB, .223 B/Avg.)
Fans can get updates and information on FGCU baseball all season long by visiting www.FGCUATHLETICS.com or by following the team on twitter @FGCU_Baseball.
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