3/10/2013 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 263
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Establishing a four-run lead early in the contest, the No. 23 FGCU baseball team tacked on six more over the final three frames en route to a series sweep of Western Michigan with a 10-3 victory on Sunday afternoon at Swanson Stadium.
The Eagles’ record climbed to 13-3 on the season, a mark which matches the program’s best start to a season since transitioning to Division I in the 2008 season. Meanwhile, the Broncos exit Fort Myers with a 3-13 mark.
“It was nice to get some runs on the board early and allow (Zack) Tillery to pitch with a lead,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “He mixed his pitches pretty well today and certainly gave us a solid start. Also, I was impressed with the younger guys in our lineup today. Tyler (Selesky) had a nice double that scored three, (Nick) Rivera went 3-for-5 with two RBI and Zion Bell also gave us a hit and RBI off the bench. It was nice to finish off all three games this weekend, but it’s also nice to see everyone contributing to our efforts.”
Marking his fourth start of the season for the Eagles, sophomore right-hander Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) (2-1) supplied seven innings on the mound, allowing one unearned run on five hits while recording four punchouts in the winning performance. Through 21.2 innings on the bump, the Naples, Fla. native holds a 2.08 ERA and a .247 opponent average while recording 11 strikeouts.
A four-run second inning put the Eagles out in front in the contest. Sophomore Michael Suchy’s (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) single up the middle was followed by a single through the left side by freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) and a walk to senior Dane Wisneski (Jupiter, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens HS/Daytona State College) to load the bases with one away. Freshman Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) gave the Green and Blue the early lead, connecting for a base-clearing double down the left field line. After a another single off the bat of junior Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) moved Selesky to third, a sacrifice bunt from senior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) extended the FGCU lead to 4-0.
WMU plated its first run in the top of the seventh after a single by Andrew Sohn opened the frame. A wild pitch and an infield grounder moved the runner to third, before a passed ball allowed the run to touch the plate.
The Eagles answered with a run of their own in the home half of the inning, finding runners on the corners with two outs on singles from junior Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) and Rivera. Junior catcher Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) drove in the insurance run with a single to third that scored Dwyer for the 5-1 lead.
FGCU doubled its run total in the bottom of the eighth, following one-out walks to Bednar, Reeves and redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn) to load the bags. After Suchy brought in the first run on an RBI walk, Reeves was able to come across on a wild pitch to make it 7-2. After another walk issued to Rivera reloaded the bases, Valencia connected for a single into center field which moved runners to the corners and raise the FGCU edge to 9-1. Picking up his first collegiate hit and RBI in the at-bat, freshman Zion Bell (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens HS) drove in the final tally for the Green and Blue.
The Broncos were able to plate two runs on in the final half inning, following a pair of one-out walks and a double down the left field line.
The Eagles brought across the 10 runs while matching a season-high 16 hits. Rivera led the way, going 3-for-4 with a pair of RBI, while Bednar went 2-for-4 with a run scored. Each supplying three RBI, Valencia and Selesky each recorded 2-for-5 days, with Selesky scoring once.
Senior left-hander R.J. Brown (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale HS) was the first arm out of the pen, tossing one scoreless inning in which he struck out the side. Making his first appearance for the Green and Blue since the 2011 season, right-hander Richie Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) finished the final inning, allowing two runs (one earned) on just one hit and finishing the game with a strikeout.
Through the series, the Eagles hit .330 with 16 RBI and 18 runs scored, combining for a .422 on-base percentage. In a team-high 16 at-bats over the three games, Bednar hit .500 with a triple two RBI and three runs scored. Dwyer also connected at a .538 clip (7-for-13), bringing in one RBI and scoring once while slugging .600. Additionally, Rivera maintained a .545 average (6-for-11) over the trio of contests, recording a pair of doubles and scoring three times.
FGCU held a 1.12 ERA over the weekend, allowing seven runs (four earned) and issuing seven walks. The Eagles kept the Broncos to a .191 mark at the plate, while striking out 25 opposing batters.
The Eagles now have a week of preparation for their contest with Ave Maria, scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch on Sunday, March 17 at Swanson Stadium. A full preview of the single-game meeting between the two squads will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com.