Roberson, Foley power Eagles to 9-5 win over Bulls
FORT MYERS, Fla. – A pair of home runs from senior Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) and freshman Jake Foley (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) highlighted an 11-hit attack for the FGCU baseball team as it completed a season sweep of BIG EAST foe USF with a 9-5 victory Tuesday night at Swanson Stadium.
The win is the fourth in a row for the Eagles and their fourth straight over the Bulls. FGCU is now 12-9 overall heading into Wednesday night’s tilt at No. 29 Miami at 6:30 p.m. USF slips to 9-12 as it heads into the opening weekend of BIG EAST action.
Seven of the nine positional starters for the Eagles recorded a hit, as they strung together their third straight game with double-digit hits. Roberson led that charge by going 3-for-3 with three RBI and his second home run in three contests. Foley’s blast was the first of his collegiate career and the team’s 10th this season. Foley reached base three times and scored a pair of runs.
Freshman Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) took the mound for his third career start, going five innings to improve to 2-1 on the season. Both of Knapp’s wins this season have come against USF, as the right-hander gave up three runs on five hits while striking out three.
Sophomore Andrew Swain (Daytona Beach, Fla./Seabreeze HS/Brevard CC) took the reins on the mound for two outs before handing the ball over to freshman Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS). Cooney went the remaining 3.1 innings, giving up two runs (1 earned) while striking out three to earn his second save of the season.
After a five-pitch first inning by Knapp, FGCU put the first run on the scoreboard in its half of the opening frame. After being hit-by-pitch to lead off the inning, senior Stephen Wickens (Whitby, Ontario/Sinclair Secondary) made his way over to third on a well-executed hit-and-run by classmate Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) who singled through the right side. Senior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla./North Port HS/Pasco-Hernando CC) wasted no time in driving in his 23rd run of the season, sending a sac fly to left that scored Wickens.
The Eagles added to their lead in the third on Roberson’s 37th career home run that made it a 3-0 advantage. The inning nearly saw the Blue and Green plate three runs, but Alvarez was thrown out at home trying to score from first on Maxfield’s ninth double of the year. Roberson then drilled his third long ball of the season over the left field wall.
FGCU continued to build its lead in the fourth with three more runs to push it to a 6-0 score. An RBI triple down the right field line by freshman Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) brought home the first run, while Foley drove home the other two runs on his first career home run that traveled over 400 feet into right center.
USF finally got to Knapp in the fifth, scoring three runs off the righty in his final inning of work to cut the deficit to 6-3 in favor of the home team.
A pair of RBI sacrifice flies by Maxfield and Roberson made it an 8-3 lead for the Eagles through six innings before FGCU tacked on one more in the seventh to take its largest lead of the game, at 9-3.
Like Roberson, Maxfield went 3-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI. Over the last two games, Maxfield is 6-for-8 and has upped his average to. 376. Roberson is currently riding an eight-game hit streak that includes seven hits over his last three games. Bednar’s first career triple extended his hit streak to a team-best nine games.
USF sent six different pitchers to the mound, as starter Kyle Eastham (2-2) was pinned with the loss after going four innings and allowing six runs on six hits.