3/1/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 365
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Playing at Swanson Stadium for the first time in 2013, the No. 23 FGCU baseball team took down visiting Manhattan, 6-2, in a two hour and 10 minute series opener on a chilly Friday night in Fort Myers, Fla.
The Eagles record now sits at 6-2 this season, while the Jaspers fell to 0-4 on the year.
“We got another quality start from Ricky this evening, not allowing a hit through the first four innings,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “That, combined with some early runs, gave us the advantage of playing with a lead for most of the game. I hope we take some of the momentum from tonight’s opener, offensively and defensively, into the doubleheader tomorrow.”
In another commendable start, junior right-hander Ricky Knapp (Port Charlotte, Fla./Port Charlotte HS) didn’t surrender a hit through the first 4.1 innings of the night. In eight innings of work, the Port Charlotte, Fla. product improved to 3-0 on the year, finishing with seven strikeouts and one walk while allowing two unearned runs on three hits in a 94-pitch outing. Through his three starts this season, the third-year arm has allowed only two extra-base hits, while holding a 0.78 ERA with 16 strikeouts and just two walks in 23 innings pitched.
FGCU made quick work of the Jaspers, scoring three runs in their first chance at the plate. Junior Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) opened the frame with a hit-by-pitch, moved to second on a Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) sacrifice bunt and then swiped third. Driving in the first run of the contest, junior Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) connected for an RBI single into right field for the 1-0 FGCU lead.
The Eagles found runners on first and second with one out on a single through the left side from redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn), and both runners moved up a bag on a wild pitch. The Green and Blue made it 2-0 when sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) drove in Dwyer on an RBI groundout to second base, also moving Beisner to third in the process. FGCU’s final tally in the first frame came off the bat of sophomore Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS), who roped a triple into the right field corner that brought in Beisner.
An one-out infield single back to the mound allowed Dwyer to get the third inning going, as a throwing error on the play to first allowed him to move to second base. Sending a liner into center field, Beisner picked up his first RBI in the contest as the Eagles’ lead grew to 4-0.
Manhattan cut its deficit to 4-2 in the visitor’s side of the sixth. Holding runners on the corners with two outs, senior catcher Ramon Ortega sent the RBI single into right field for the Jaspers’ first run of the contest. With runners still on the corners, another single to center field lowered the Eagles’ advantage to two runs.
The Eagles recovered the two runs in their chance in the seventh, finding the bases loaded with two away. Redshirt sophomore Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./Ferguson HS) reached on fielder’s choice, Bednar single to short and Reeves loaded the bags with a full-count walk. Picking up second and third RBI of the game, Beisner lined a two-RBI single into right center as the FGCU edge climbed to 6-2. Beisner now claims a team-best 15 RBI on the year.
Entering for Knapp in the ninth, junior right-hander Danny Patrick (Jupiter, Fla./Jupiter HS/Pepperdine/Palm Beach State) tossed a perfect inning, going through the final three hitters with one strikeout.
FGCU plated six runs on 10 hits, committing one defensive error. Beisner continued his offensive display, going 3-for-4 with three RBI and a run scored. Also driving in a run, Dwyer went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Bednar came across to score twice in a 1-for-3 night.
Manhattan scored two runs on three hits, with two defensive errors. Taking the loss, sophomore lefty Mike Martin started the game for the Jaspers, allowing six runs (five earned) on 10 hits with one walk and four strikeouts in 6.2 innings.
The two teams will return to Swanson Stadium on Saturday for a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m. The Eagles intend to use freshman righty Michael Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forest Hill HS) (1-0, 2.61 ERA) against Manhattan senior RHP John Soldinger (0-1, 10.80 ERA).
Tickets for all home contest are available online at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com/tickets or by calling the FGCU ticket office at 239-590-7145.
Saturday, Mar. 2 – 1 p.m. (Game 1)
FGCU – RHP Michael Murray, Fr. (1-0, 2.61 ERA, 10.1 IP, 4 K, 2 BB, .293 B/Avg.)
MAN – RHP John Soldinger, Sr. (0-1, 10.80 ERA, 5.0 IP, 0 K, 2 BB, .368 B/Avg.)
Saturday, Mar. 2 (Game 2)
FGCU – TBA
MAN – LHP Matt Jordan, Sr. (0-1, 54.00 ERA, 1.0 IP, 1 K, 3 BB, .571 B/Avg.)
Sunday, Mar. 3 – 1:00 p.m.
FGCU – TBA
MAN – RHP Scott McClennan, Jr. (0-0, 7.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 5 K, 1 BB, .308 B/Avg.)
Monday, Mar. 4 – 6:30 p.m.
FGCU – TBA
MICH – TBA
Fans can get updates and information on FGCU baseball all season long by visiting www.FGCUATHLETICS.com or by following the team on twitter @FGCU_Baseball.