FORT MYERS, Fla. – In a game that saw a combined 13 players take the mound, FAU used a late rally in the eighth inning to plate five runs and turn what was a 3-1 FGCU lead into a 6-3 triumph for the visiting Owls on Tuesday night at Swanson Stadium.
The first five batters of the eighth inning recorded a hit for FAU, who had just four base-knocks over the first seven innings. All five batters who led off the frame came across to score, as the Owls used six hits to leave no runners on in the big inning.
FGCU, who now stands at 22-27 on the season, will turn its attention to a crucial Atlantic Sun weekend road trip to third place Belmont (26-21, 14-10). The Eagles (11-13) are currently in eighth place in the A-Sun standings just a game and a half out of the sixth and final qualifying spot for the postseason conference tournament.
The Eagles accounted for eight of the pitchers in the game, starting senior Austin Gaines (Dunedin, Fla./Northeast HS/South Florida CC) who tossed three scoreless innings. Freshmen Brandon Bixler (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) and Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) along with sophomore Kevin Bryant (Homestead, Fla./South Dade HS) helped FGCU hold onto its 3-1 lead through seven innings after getting one run in the fourth and two more in the fifth.
Senior Craig Crumbly (Winter Haven, Fla./Lake Region HS) got the loss on the mound after starting the eighth, giving up four runs on four hits.
The top six batters in the FGCU lineup finished with at least one hit, led by multi-hit evenings from freshman Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) and senior Tim Roberson (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS). Roberson drove in one of the Blue and Green’s two runs in the fifth. Senior Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) picked up the 309th hit of his career, moving just two away from Josh Upchurch’s all-time record of 311.
FAU sent five pitchers to the mound, but it was the four out of the bullpen that silenced the FGCU bats. The Owls’ pen combined to go 4.2 innings, giving up three hits and no runs.
Game one of this weekend’s series in Nashville is slated for 7 p.m. on Friday, May 13.