BOCA RATON, Fla. – On the strength of four scoreless innings of relief work from senior Jack Wagoner (Berlin, Conn./Northwest Catholic HS/St. Petersburg College) and its third straight game with double digit hits, the FGCU baseball team scored four straight runs to open the game to earn a 9-5 road win over FAU on Tuesday night at the FAU Baseball Stadium.
Named to the NCBWA Stopper of the Year watch list to start the season, Wagoner entered the game in the sixth with the Eagles leading 9-5 and allowed just one base runner over the final four innings. Wagoner improved to 3-1 with the win, using just 50 pitches to accumulate three strikeouts and give up just one hit.
The win evens FGCU’s record at 15-15 on the season heading into Wednesday night’s contest at Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers against ACC foe Miami (17-11). Gametime at Hammond Stadium for the third meeting in the last three weeks between the two teams is slated for 7 p.m. A live broadcast of the game can be heard for free on www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.
Senior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla./North Port HS/Pasco-Hernando CC), who scored the game’s first run after singling to lead off the second inning, provided a big blow in the third with a two-run home run to push the lead to 4-0. Maxfield’s home run was his team-high seventh of the season and the 38th of his career to put him a tie for the all-time lead with classmate Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS).
The two-run shot would have also put Maxfield in a tie for the program’s RBI record (138) with Roberson, but the senior third baseman (Roberson) gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead prior to the blast with an RBI double.
FAU cut the Blue and Green’s lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the third, but FGCU bounced right back with two runs in the fourth to push its edge to 6-3. Freshman Brandon Bednar’s (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) ground out brought home classmate Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver HS) who walked, while Roberson drove in his 140th career run with his second hit of the game.
The scoreboard read 7-5 after both teams plated runs in the fifth before sophomore Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter's Secondary) brought home the game’s final two runs in the top of the sixth with a two-out double to make it 9-5. The double was Reeves’ 10th hit in the month of April (10-19) over four games.
Holding the four-run lead (9-5), FGCU handed the ball over to Wagoner, who retired 12 of the 13 batters he faced, including the final eight of the game.
Like Reeves, senior Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) has had a good start to April with seven hits over the last three games. Batting leadoff, Alvarez went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a double during his 84th career multi-hit game. Maxfield finish 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI, while Roberson was 2-for-5 and also had two RBI. Reeves’ 2-for-4 night capped the No. 3-5 batters in the lineup that went a combined 7-for-12 with five runs scored and six RBI.
Freshman Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) made his fourth start of the season on the mound, going three innings with three strikeouts. FAU used six different pitchers as it fell to 17-12 overall.