Alvarez breaks all-time record for hits
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sophomore Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) drove in a career-high six runs, highlighted by a grand slam in the third inning, to lead FGCU to its second straight Atlantic Sun weekend win over Belmont, 10-7, on Saturday at Rose Park.
The win evens Eagles’ A-Sun mark at 13-13 to move within a game of the Bruins (28-23) for the sixth and final conference postseason berth. Belmont, who entered the weekend with wins in nine of its last 10 A-Sun contests, is now 14-12 in the league. FGCU’s (24-27) victory also clinched the weekend series and tie-breaker over the Bruins, if necessary.
Reeves’ career day saw the second-year catcher go 3-for-4 with a triple and his second home run of the season en route to the second-highest RBI total in the program’s Division I history. Current senior Zach Maxfield (North Port, Fla./North Port HS/Pasco Hernando CC) set the record on March 6, 2009, when he drove in eight runs against Campbell.
History was made at the plate during the first at-bat of the game when senior Mikel Alvarez (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) became the FGCU all-time hit leader when he doubled to right center field for hit number 312, moving past Josh Upchurch’s record of 311. Alvarez, who batted in the leadoff spot for the 26th time this season, finished with his 95th career multi-hit game, going 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
FGCU ended the game with 11 timely hits, leaving just six runners on-base compared to 11 by the Bruins. The Eagles’ double-digit hit attack was their 24th of the season, improving their record to 19-5 when accomplishing the feat.
As crucial as the timely hits were, the relief effort by junior Jason Forjet (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Nova HS) on the mound was equally as clutch. Entering the game in the fifth for starter Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS), Forjet went on to toss 93 pitches over the final 4.2 innings to earn the win.
Forjet (2-5) pitched out of several jams en route to earning his second win of the season. The biggest jam came in the bottom of the seventh, as the Eagles held a 10-6 lead and were faced with two runners in scoring position and one out. Forjet got out of the jam with a pair of groundouts, including the final out with the bases loaded.
Trailing 2-1 in the top of the third, FGCU took the lead for good when Reeves sent Belmont starter Josh Davis’ 1-1 pitch over the right field wall to give the visitors a 5-2 advantage. Reeves’ grand slam was the second by an Eagle in the last six games.
Reeves gave the Eagles more breathing room in the fifth with a two-run triple that highlighted a three-run inning for the Blue and Green that ballooned their lead to 8-4. Junior Javi Sujo (Miami, Fla./Miami Sunset HS/Middle Georgia College) provided the final run of the inning with an RBI single that scored Reeves. Sujo has a hit in 22 of 23 A-Sun games he’s played in.
Freshman Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) was a part of both the three-run inning in the fifth and two-run sixth inning, finishing the game 3-for-5 with a run scored and an RBI. Sujo drove in two runs with the other coming on a bases loaded walk in the sixth.
Davis was pinned with his first loss of the season, falling to 5-1. He gave up eight runs on eight hits while also issuing three walks.
The start on the mound was Knapp’s team-best ninth of the season, as the Eagles improved to 6-3 when the right-hander earns nod. Knapp lasted 4.1 innings, giving up five runs on six hits while striking out three. The 4.1 innings snapped a streak of four consecutive starts in which he’s went at least six.
The third and final game is set for 1:05 P.M. ET on Sunday. Live stats and audio are available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.