3/9/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 751
WP | Sterling Koerner (2-0) – 6.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO
LP | Michael Martin (0-2) – 6.1 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO
SV | Brady Anderson (7) – 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 0 SO
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team (10-7) completed the four-game sweep of Manhattan (1-10) on Sunday with a 5-2 victory that saw Sterling Koerner toss 6.0 scoreless innings in relief and give the Eagles their first sweep of 2014.
Brad Labozzetta (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland HS) made his fourth start and struggled once again. He got through just two innings of work and allowed two runs on two hits, walking three and striking out three. Sterling Koerner (Fort Pierece, Fla./John Carrol HS) tossed six scoreless innings of relief, striking out four and picking up his second win in the process. Brady Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto HS) came on in the ninth and picked up his third save of the series and seventh of the season.
“Sterling was huge for us again,” head coach Dave Tollet added. “He gave us a lift and our offense responded. It’s big for a young club like to get their first sweep and now we just need to carry the momentum into next weekend and hopefully through the rest of the season.”
Manhattan wasted no time putting a run up on the board. After a line out to get the first batter Labozzetta issued a walk to Chris Kalousdian and gave up a single to Andrew Gorecki. A wild pitch allowed the runners to move up and the subsequent walk loaded the bases for the Jaspers in the first. Brendan Slattery came to the plate next and grounded a potential double-play ball to Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) who stepped on first and fired home but not in time for Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) to apply the tag, but that was all Manhattan would get, taking a 1-0 lead into the bottom half.
In the top of the second, Labozzetta plunked the first batter of the inning but Valencia caught the runner sleeping after the next pitch and threw down to first for a pick off, recording the first out. Labozzetta’s second strikeout of the game served as the second out of the inning but he would hit another batter who advanced to second on a pass ball. Jose Carrera, the leadoff man for the Jaspers, came to plate and delivered a hit to drive in the second run of the ball game.
With two away in the second and FGCU in danger of spoiling the leadoff man getting on base for a second-consecutive inning, Valencia drove the first triple of his career into the right-centerfield gap to bring in the run and cut the lead in half.
Koerner replaced Labozzetta in the top of the third and threw just five pitches to ease through his first inning of work. In the bottom half Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) singled for a second time to lead things off and stole second for a second time giving him 11 on the year, just nine shy of the single-season record but a trio of groundouts spoiled his efforts and kept the Eagles down 2-1 heading into the fourth.
The Green and Blue came to the plate in the bottom of the fifth and picked up two quick out and should have gone down in order but a fly ball by Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) was dropped by the Manhattan right fielder allowing Suchy to move up to second. Rivera followed with team-leading eighth double of the season, bringing Suchy around to tie the score.
FGCU would add more in the sixth beginning with a leadoff double down the left field line from Cody Hoffner (Sebring, Fla./Broward College) who would be replaced with a pinch runner. Gage Morey (West Palm Beach, Fla./PB Central) singled putting runners on first and third with nobody out. Valencia came to the plate and delivered a sacrifice fly for his second RBI of the morning and gave the Eagles a 3-2 lead in the process. A groundout moved Morey over to third and a pass ball would bring him home to put FGCU ahead 4-2 through six.
With runners on first and second and one away in the bottom half of the seventh, Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) ripped a single to left, driving in Rivera, giving the Green and Blue a 5-2 lead and providing the final score in this one.
Anderson locked down the ninth and sat down the Jaspers without incident to secure the victory for the Eagles.
FGCU sweeps a series for the first time this season and has a season-long four-game winning streak. Eagle pitching also allowed three or fewer runs in each of the games in the series, marking a first there as well. FGCU will be back in action next weekend when it welcomes Florida A&M for a three game set. The first game of the series will take place on Friday, Mar. 14 at 6:30 p.m.
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.