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No. 23 Eagles Fall to Ave Maria, 8-6
|Win: Joe Bocchino (5-1)||9.0||6||6||3||3||5|
|Loss: MURRAY (2-1)||4.0||6||5||4||2||1|
|Tucker Starkey (AMU)||5||2||4||1||0||0|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Falling behind early in the contest, the No. 23 FGCU baseball team was unable to mount a comeback against visiting Ave Maria, dropping the Sunday afternoon contest with the Gyrenes, 8-6, at Swanson Stadium.
The Eagles record dropped to 13-4 on the season, as their win streak was halted at six games. Meanwhile, the Gyrenes’ mark improved to 23-10 on the year.
Ave Maria plated one run in the first and second innings to take an early 2-0 in the contest. Finding runners on third base in each frame, the Gyrenes brought across both runs via sacrifice flies to centerfield.
The Eagles scored their first tally in the home side of the fourth following a single by senior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) and back-to-back walks to junior Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) and senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn) to load the bags. A grounder to short off the bat of freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) brought in the lone tally in the inning.
After AMU extended its lead to 5-1 with three runs in the top of the fifth, the Eagles responded with three of their own in the home half of the inning. Freshman Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) opened the inning with a single to right field and moved to third on an infield error when junior Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Ferguson HS) connected for a grounder to short. Junior Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS) drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases for Reeves, who sent a two-RBI single down the left field line. With runners on the corners and one away, Dwyer drove in the third run in the inning on a sacrifice fly to centerfield which allowed Bednar to score and cut the deficit to 5-4.
Finding the bases loaded with one out in the sixth, the Gyrenes scored a pair of runs on a single into right field and a fielder’s choice groundout to extend their lead to 7-4.
FGCU rallied with a pair of runs in the sixth and seventh innings to lower the score to 7-6 in favor of AMU. Rivera opened the sixth with a single to centerfield and moved to second on an error during the play. After a wild pitch moved him to third, a sacrifice fly to centerfield from sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) allowed Rivera to touch the plate.
The Eagles final tally in the game came via home run, when Dwyer connected for a towering drive over the fence in right field.
AMU tacked on an insurance run in the top of the ninth when a runner on third came in to score on a wild pitch. The Gyrenes retired the Eagles in order in the bottom half of the inning en route to the 8-6 victory.
The Eagles scored six runs on as many hits and a trio of AMU errors. FGCU was led offensively by Reeves’ 2-for-5 day that included a pair of RBI and a run scored. Dwyer also supplied a pair of RBI and a run scored in a 1-for-2 day that included a walk.
Starting the contest for FGCU, freshman right-hander Michael Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forest Hill HS) (2-1) was issued the loss after going four innings and allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits and a pair of walks, adding one strikeout.
The Gyrenes plated eight runs on 12 hits and one FGCU error. AMU starting right-hander Joe Bocchino (5-1) went the distance, allowing six runs (three earned) on six hits and three walks, registering five strikeouts in his 130-pitch outing.
FGCU is set to close its 11-game homestand with a Wednesday night contest against FIU at Swanson Stadium beginning at 6:30 p.m. It will mark the first meeting in the home-and-home series against the two schools this season.
Tickets for all home contests are available online at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com/tickets or by calling the FGCU ticket office at 239-590-7145.
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.