JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Senior Robert Greene’s (Cape Coral, Fla./Mariner HS) two-out RBI double in the top of the 13th inning of the second game of a doubleheader helped the FGCU baseball team earn a come-from-behind 5-4 win at UNF and claim the Atlantic Sun opening series on Saturday.
The Eagles, who had their three-game win streak snapped earlier in the day with a 10-3 loss in the first game of the doubleheader, have now won 17 straight A-Sun series, dating back to the 2009 campaign. FGCU is now 6-5 on the season and will head to Tampa on Tuesday night for a show down against USF.
Trailing 4-0 in the top of the eighth in game two, senior Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) brought the Blue and Green within two, 4-2, on a bases loaded two-run single down the left field line.
After senior righty Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla./South Florida CC) kept the Ospreys at bay in the bottom half of the inning, the Eagles put a pair of runners in scoring position with one out. Freshman Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) then grounded to third, but the throw to first sailed wide, allowing sophomore Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peters Secondary), who singled, and freshman pinch-runner Brandon Bixler (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) to score to make it 4-4 and force extra innings.
Both teams failed to score in the 10th, 11th and 12th innings, respectively, as Gaines tossed five scoreless innings (8-12) to set the stage for the Eagle bats in the top of the 13th. Greene stepped to the plate with two outs and ripped a double to left center field, scoring freshman Sean Dwyer (Leesburg, Fla./Tavares HS) all the way from first to give FGCU its first lead of the day, at 5-4.
Head coach Dave Tollett then turned to junior Jacob Barnes (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Petersburg HS), who tossed three scoreless innings in his last outing against Michigan, to close the game. Barnes made things interesting, loading the bases with two outs before sealing the deal with a strikeout.
Gaines got the win on the mound, improving to 2-0 on the season. In his four outings this season, Gaines has tossed 11 scoreless innings with 10 strikeouts. A-Sun preseason Pitcher of the Year Richie Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) started the game, going seven innings with six strikeouts in the no-decision.
In the opener, UNF plated six runs over the first three innings, knocking out a pair of FGCU pitchers after it had taken a 6-0 lead. Bixler, who pinch ran in game two, got the start on the mound and lasted just 1.2 innings thanks to giving up five runs on four hits.
Trailing 8-2 in the top of the seventh, FGCU put together its biggest threat of the game by loading the bases with two outs, but was only able to come up with one run.
The loss was the first of Bixler’s career, as he made his third start. Charlie Jagodzinski threw 2.1 scoreless innings in relief to earn the win for UNF.
The FGCU offense supplied 19 hits on the day, led by three each from senior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla./North Port HS/Pasco-Hernando CC), senior and Roberson.