2/14/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 483
WP | Garrett Anderson (1-0) - 2.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 SO
LP | Nick Narodowy (0-1) – 1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO
SAVE | None
Saturday (Feb. 15) | Game 1 - 1 p.m. | Game 2 - 4 p.m.
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team (1-0) fell behind the Rams of Rhode Island (0-1) early but came storming back with a pair of late inning rallies to claim its first victory of the 2014 season in convincing fashion.
Freshman Garrett Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto HS) came on in relief of starter Michael Murray (West Palm Beach, Fla./Forrest Hill HS), worked out of a jam after hitting the first batter he faced and went on to pick up the first win of his young career on opening day. Murray tossed 6.2 strong innings in his 2014 debut giving up seven hits and allowing just one earned run, striking out four.
The Eagles sprayed 13 hits under the lights of Swanson Stadium on Friday night. Every player in the starting lineup had at least one hit, four Eagles picked up two. The seven FGCU RBI’s were spread out throughout the lineup as well. Mike Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) and Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) picked up a pair while Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS), Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) and Kevin Young (Ponte Verde Beach, Fla./Ponte Verde Beach HS) each added one.
“It was a good pitching battle” head coach Dave Tollet added after the game. “Murray did an excellent job then we went to a freshman and we threw nine innings without a walk. They had to earn it to beat us tonight and that was really good … We got down 2-0 and came back and answered, 3-2, and I think it says a lot about a young club. I was anxious to see when we got down 0-2 what kind of team would show up. It’s early in the year but those are key signs early on with a young club and I think I’ll leave here tonight pretty happy with them … We’re going to enjoy this ‘til tomorrow morning. It’s a great first win for a young club. We see another great arm tomorrow… So we have our work cut out for us in game one.”
In the top of the first, Murray gave up a leadoff double after getting ahead of URI’s Time Caputo 0-2 but was able to induce a groundout from the next batter to get the first out of the inning. With Caputo now on third with one away, Murray picked up a big strikeout and closed off the early threat by getting Pat Quinn to fly out to left.
Murray would help his own cause in the top of the second striking out the first two batters of the frame before flashing some leather and gunning down a batter attempting to reach with a bunt to end the inning.
The Eagles would go down quietly in the first and second innings but began the third with a pair of singles and a hit-batsman to load the bases with no one out and the top of the order coming to the plate. Adam Eggnatz (Tampa, Fla./Middle Georgia College) popped out to second, Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) struck out swinging and Rivera grounded out to let Rhody out of the inning unscathed.
Both pitchers held this one scoreless through five innings and it would be the FGCU gloves, not Murray that would blink first. A pair of Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./John A. Ferguson) errors ultimately allowed two runs to come across for Rhody, giving them a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom half of the inning.
Noll led off the bottom of the sixth with single to center followed up by a single from Rivera past the diving third-baseman bringing Suchy to the plate with first and second and no out. With a 3-1 count Suchy works a walk to load the bases with no one out for the second time in the game forcing URI starter Tyler Bowditch out of the game. Brendan Doonan came on to face Valencia who singled through the left side to bring the first run of the game home for FGCU. Selesky worked a walk to tie the game and with the bases still loaded for Young and nobody out the junior singled through the left side to give the Eagles a 3-2 lead. Rhode Island made another pitching change and the Rams were able stop another bases-loaded-no-out rally to limit the damage.
Anderson came on in relief of Murray with two outs and the tying run already in in the seventh to make his FGCU debut and would hit the first batter he faced. The freshman had runners on first and second but worked out of the jam to preserve the tie score.
Eggnatz led off the bottom of the seventh by beating a throw from the diving shortstop deep in the hole. Noll came up and attempted to sacrifice Eggnatz to second but the catcher’s throw pulled the URI first baseman off the bag, giving Rivera runners on first and second with no outs. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third for Rivera who drove a ball off the chest of Rhody third baseman Connor Foreman allowing Eggnatz to score and advancing Noll to third giving the Eagles a 4-3 lead.
The Rams would bring in their fourth pitcher of the evening to face Suchy who promptly triples to deep left center to clear the bases and give FGCU a 6-3 advantage. Then with runners on first and third and no one out Selesky singles in front of the CF to bring home run number four of the inning for the Green and Blue, providing the final tally of 7-3.
Anderson would work a clean eighth and close out the ninth after giving up two singles to put this one in the books. The Eagles begin the season with a victory for the second-straight year and improve to 9-3 all-time in season-openers. The Green and Blue has also now outscored opponents 111-36 opening day.
Nick Deckert (Tallahassee, Fla./Tallahassee CC) will take the mound for the Eagles in game one of tomorrow's doubleheader with Rhode Island beginning at 1 p.m. Deckert will square off with Steve Moyers who posted a staggering 1.78 ERA for the Rams in 2013. Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) will toe the rubber for the Green and Blue in game two opposite Lou Distasio.
Single-game tickets for FGCU Baseball are available at a cost of $6 for adults and $3 for children. Season tickets are also available. For more ticket information and additional deals, visit FGCUathletics.com/tickets, or call or visit the ticket office at 239-590-7145.