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FGCU Sweeps Stetson on Senior Day, 15-2; Secures No. 2 Seed in A-Sun Championship
|Win: COONEY (6-5)||7.0||5||2||1||2||3|
|Loss: Adam Schaly (2-4)||3.1||8||5||3||2||0|
|Patrick Mazeika (STET)||3||0||2||0||1||0|
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Completing the Atlantic Sun Conference weekend sweep of in-state rival Stetson, the FGCU baseball wrapped up the 2013 regular season with a convincing 15-2 victory on Senior Day at Swanson Stadium on Saturday afternoon and, in doing so, secured the No. 2 seed in the upcoming A-Sun Championship.
The Eagles’ wrapped up the regular season holding a 37-18 overall record, which includes a 19-8 mark in A-Sun Conference action. The Hatters finished the year with a 26-29 mark, establishing a 15-12 record in league play.
“We knew coming into today that there was a lot riding on this game from an A-Sun tournament standpoint and a selection committee standpoint,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “We had to come out and get the win today and do our part to get the best possible seed heading into the tournament next week. The win moves us into sole possession of second place in the standings and I think it will go a long way in the eyes of the selection committee.”
“It was also great to send this senior class out with a victory and a three game weekend sweep here at Swanson Stadium. This senior class has been amazing to work, both personally and on the field, and I look forward to a great postseason run with this group.”
Working a career-best seven innings to begin the game, junior right-hander Harrison Cooney (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach HS) improved to 6-5 in the victory, surrendering two runs (one earned) on five hits and a pair of walks while striking out three of the 27 batters faced. Now sitting with a 2.92 ERA in 20 appearances (four starts) this season, the Vero Beach, Fla. native has worked 64.2 innings and kept opponents to a .230 average at the plate. In 10 appearances against A-Sun foes, including all four of his starts, Cooney has lowered his ERA to 2.48 and sits with a 5-1 record, holding 30 punchouts and a .225 opponent average over 36.1 innings.
Stetson opened the ballgame with a single to left field and moved the runner to second base on a sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher. After a double down the left field line put Hatters on second and third, a ground ball to second base gave the visitors a 1-0 lead.
The Eagles answered right back with a run in the home half of the inning, getting a one-out single through the right side from sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) and a walk to junior Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS). Junior Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) knotted the game at 1-1, picking up his 41st RBI of the season on a single into right field.
FGCU got its first lead on the afternoon in the third inning, scoring two runs in the frame. Reaching first on a fielder’s choice, Bednar came all the way around to score on a fielding error during a single up the middle from redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn). Also advancing to second on the error, Beisner later scored in the inning on a double to left center off the bat of freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS).
A three-run fourth inning pushed the FGCU lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the fourth when a leadoff walk by freshman Colton Bottomley (Davie, Fla./Marjorie Stoneman Douglas HS) was followed by the 200th career hit for senior catcher Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary). Another walk issued to Suchy loaded the bases, and the first run came in on error at third base on a liner from Bednar. With the bases still loaded, a RBI fielder’s choice groundout to second by Dwyer moved Reeves across the plate, and Suchy also scored in the inning on a single to left field by Beisner for the five-run advantage.
Working the bases loaded in the top of the fifth, the Hatters picked up their second run in the game on an infield error as the Eagles’ lead narrowed to 6-2.
Five more runs came in for the Eagles in the bottom of the seventh after loading the bases on a walk to freshman Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS), a single up the middle from Bottomley and another walk to redshirt sophomore Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./Ferguson HS). Reeves’ sac fly to center was followed with a RBI single to second base by Suchy to move the score to 8-2. Later in the frame with two away, Dwyer sent a two-RBI double to deep left-center to score Suchy and Diaz, and Beisner picked up Dwyer with a single up the middle as the FGCU edge grew to 11-2.
Plating four insurance runs in the bottom the eighth, the Eagles saw their lead extend to 15-2. The Green and Blue opened the inning with three-straight singles and Reeves collected an RBI on a fielder’s choice to second base. The bases remained loaded due to an error on the Reeves grounder, and Suchy sent a RBI single into left field to make it 13-2. Another RBI single in the inning from Bednar kept the bases full, and Dwyer’s RBI walk provided one more run in the game.
Senior left-hander R.J. Brown (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale HS) entered the game to begin the ninth and worked one-third before handing the ball over to fellow senior right-hander Richie Erath (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central HS) for the final two outs of the game.
The Eagles scored 15 runs on 20 hits, the most in an A-Sun game this season, and three Stetson errors. Suchy went 4-for-5 with a walk, one double, two RBI and three runs scored. With five RBI on the day, Dwyer was 3-for-5 with a walk, one double and one run scored. Beisner provided a 4-for-6 day which included two RBI and one run scored, and Reeves hit 1-for-5 with a pair of RBI and two runs scored.
The Hatters scored two runs on six hits and three FGCU errors. Freshman lefty Adam Schaly (2-4) was pinned with the loss after 3.1 innings, allowing five runs (three earned) on eight hits and two walks.
FGCU hit .407 in the series, scoring 32 runs and driving in 29 RBI over the trio of games. Suchy led the charge, hitting .615 (8-for-13) with team highs of eight RBI and five runs scored, slugging 1.154 with 15 total bases and a pair of home runs. Dwyer held a .545 average at the plate, bringing in six RBI and scoring twice, while Beisner connected at a .538 clip with 10 total bases, four RBI and four runs scored.
The 2013 A-Sun Championship is set to commence on May 22-26 from the campus of Stetson in DeLand, Fla.
With Mercer (41-14, 20-7 A-Sun) winning its finale at Northern Kentucky, 13-4, the Bears clinched the A-Sun regular season championship and will enter the A-Sun Championship as the No. 1 overall seed.
The Eagles finish a game behind Mercer and will compete at the league championship as the No. 2 seed, playing at 5 p.m. on Wednesday evening in DeLand, Fla. FGCU will go up against the loser of the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader regular season finale between Kennesaw State and Lipscomb, as the sides battle for the sixth and seventh seeds.
North Florida (38-17, 18-9 A-Sun), ETSU (32-22, 17-10 A-Sun) and Stetson rounded out the three, four and five seeds, respectively. USC Upstate (26-28, 9-18 A-Sun) locked in the No. 8 seed with its 4-3 finale victory over UNF, combined with Jacksonville dropping its game at ETSU, 11-4.
Prior to Saturday’s regular season finale, the Eagles honored their six-member senior class of outfielder Dane Wisneski (Jupiter, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens HS/Daytona State College), infielder Tito Mendoza (Miramar, Fla./Cooper City HS/Cowley CC), Brown, Erath, Beisner and Reeves, all of which saw action in the contest.
A full preview of the A-Sun Championship will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com on Tuesday.