FGCU Evens A-Sun Series at UNF with 7-5 Win on Saturday
|Florida Gulf Coast||0||0||0||0||0||3||0||4||0||7||10||1|
|Win: BROWN (2-1)||1.0||1||0||0||0||2|
|Loss: TREXLER (3-4)||1.2||3||4||3||1||1|
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In a critical Atlantic Sun Conference weekend series, the FGCU baseball team was able to bring the road set back even on Saturday afternoon, using a four-run eighth inning to help secure a 7-5 victory over North Florida at Harmon Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla.
Entering the day in a share of third place in the league standings, the win moves the Eagles to 33-17 on the year, including a 15-8 mark in A-Sun play. Holding the top spot in the A-Sun following the 8-7 victory on Friday in 11 innings, the Ospreys move to 35-15 (16-7 A-Sun) in the loss. The rubber match of the three-game set is scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch on Sunday afternoon.
“We knew coming in that this series was going to be a battle as the A-Sun regular season continues to wind down,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “After dropping a hard-fought game last night in extra innings, it was great to come back today and tie the series up and give us a chance for a weekend series win tomorrow afternoon.”
The Ospreys struck first in the game with two runs in their opening chance at the plate. Leadoff hitter Joe Wielbruda beat out an infield hit into the hole at shortstop and came in when Donnie Dewees connected on a two-run home run to right to put UNF up 2-0. UNF added another in the third on a solo shot to center field by third basemen Paul Karmeris to give the Ospreys a 3-0 advantage.
After managing just two hits through the first five innings played, the Eagles’ bats came alive in the sixth with three runs to tie the game up. Junior Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) got the inning started when he doubled off the left field wall and moved to third on a single to right by classmate Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS). Redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn) then grounded out to the pitcher but an errant throw to first got passed the first basemen, and another error by the right fielder in the same play allowed both runs to score and move Beisner to third. The Green and Blue capitalized when sophomore Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) singled up the middle, scoring Beisner and leveling the game up at 3-3.
FGCU took its first lead of the game in the eighth when Dwyer led off the top half of the inning with a solo home run to dead center to give the Eagles a 4-3 lead. FGCU added another after Beisner drew a walk and reached third on a ground out and a fly out, setting up freshman Colton Bottomley’s (Davie, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) single up the middle to give the Eagles a 5-3 advantage. The Green and Blue then loaded the bases in the frame when redshirt sophomore Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./Ferguson HS) singled through the left side and senior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) was hit by a pitch. FGCU took advantage of the opportunity on another UNF mistake with a wild pitch and a throwing error by the UNF catcher which allowed two runs to score and move the Eagles ahead 7-3.
UNF made one final attempt at a rally in the bottom of the eighth, getting back-to-back one-out singles and walk to load the bases. Dewees was able to bring in a pair of runs on a single back up the middle to cut the deficit to 7-5, but the Eagles recorded the final two outs in the inning on a 6-3 double play in the next at-bat. FGCU retired the Ospreys in order in the ninth to secure the two-run victory.
Starting the afternoon on the mound for the Eagles, freshman right-hander Michael Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forest Hill HS) provided six innings, allowing three runs on five hits and a walk while striking out four hitters. The first-year starter now holds a 5-1 record and a 2.92 ERA in 77.0 innings of work, sitting third on the team with 50 strikeouts while keeping hitters to a .251 mark at the plate. Senior left-hander R.J Brown (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale HS) (2-1) earned his second win of the year after working a scoreless seventh inning, allowing just one hit and recording two strikeouts.
FGCU scored seven runs on 10 hits and three UNF errors, led by Dwyer going 3-for-4 with a walk and a home run, one run scored and two RBI. Diaz also supplied a 3-for-4 game with a run scored, while Bottomley went 1-for-3 with a RBI and one run scored.
UNF scored five runs on nine hits and one FGCU. Junior right-hander David Trexler (3-4) was issued the loss after entering in relief and going 1.2 innings, surrendering four runs (three earned) on three hits and walk.
The two teams return to Harmon Stadium for a 1 p.m. first pitch on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles intend to start junior right-hander Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) (4-5, 2.73 ERA) opposite UNF senior left-hander Michael Renner (9-0, 1.43 ERA).
Live stats, in-game Twitter updates (@FGCU_Baseball), box score results and recaps will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com on Sunday.
FGCU Probable Starters
Sun. – RHP Harrison Cooney, Jr. (4-5, 18 GP/2 GS, 2.73 ERA, 52.2 IP, 50 K, 24 BB, .232 B/Avg.)
UNF Probable Starters
Sun. – LHP Michael Renner, Sr. (9-0, 13 GP/9 GS, 1.43 ERA, 75.1 IP, 46 K, 13 BB, .222 B/Avg.)
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