5/22/2014 | Fort Myers, Fla. | Attendance: 522
WP | Nick Andros (5-2): 5.0 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 SO
LP | Brady Anderson (5-3): 7.2 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO
FORT MYERS, Fla. – The FGCU baseball team (37-21, 19-8 A-Sun) let an early lead slip away against Lipscomb (36-26, 17-10 A-Sun) in the second round of the 2014 Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship on Thursday night, ultimately falling 5-4. The Eagles will now be in survival mode as another loss will eliminate them from the tournament. FGCU squares off with Jacksonville on Friday at 7 p.m.
Brady Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto HS) took the ball on Thursday night and cruised through his 7.2 innings of work, allowing eight hits and striking out three against just one walk. It was after that second out of the eighth that Anderson ran into some trouble and gave up three runs before Nick Deckert (Tallahassee, Fla./Tallahassee CC) came on in relief to keep FGCU alive in this one.
Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) was the only FGCU hitter to register multiple hits, including a two-RBI double in the first that scored the games’ first runs. He would also score twice to ensure that he was involved in all four FGCU runs on Thursday night. Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) collected the only other RBI with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
“This game was a very uncharacteristic of us,” head coach Dave Tollett added. “It’s a tough situation we’re in now. We are going to have to have some help from our pitching but we are also going to need to hit better than we did tonight.”
Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS), who ultimately saw his 18-game hit streak come to an end on Thursday night, led off the game with a walk for the Eagles and was promptly followed by Colton Bottomley (Parkland, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) who walked as well. With the runners now on second and third with one out following a passed ball, Rivera doubled down the left-field line to drive in the first two runs of the ball game and give FGCU a 2-0 lead. Two batters later in a first and third situation now a second passed ball would allow Rivera to score and make the score 3-0 early on.
Anderson cruised through the Lipscomb order over the first three innings before finally running into some trouble in the fourth. Drew Adams singled up the middle and Tyson Ashcraft followed suit with a hard-hit ball back through the middle as well to put runners on first and third with no one out. Anderson picked up a big strikeout for the first out of the frame but gave up a sacrifice fly for the second which allowed the runner to score from third and cut the FGCU lead to 3-1.
The Eagles would leave the bases loaded the bases in the fifth but were unable to push a run across. An FGCU error ultimately resulted in a run in the top of the sixth and Nick Andros got rolling from there despite the 3-2 deficit. Hunter Brothers struggled on the mound for Lipscomb, walking six batters over 4.0 innings of work. Andros showed the complete opposite as the lefty would strike out eight batters over five innings of work to secure the victory for the Bisons.
Lipscomb picked up three runs off Anderson in the eighth, turning things over to the FGCU lineup in the bottom half with a 5-3 deficit to work with. Rivera led off the bottom of the eighth with a single through the left side and Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) followed with a walk. A sacrifice bunt moved both runners into scoring position for the senior catcher Valencia who lifted a sac fly to right to make it 5-4. That was all the Eagles would get in the eight.
Deckert kept the Bisons at bay in the ninth and in the bottom half, Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./John A. Ferguson) led off with a bunt single that brought the bench and the crowd to its feet. Noll sacrificed Diaz to second but that was as far as he would go as Andros was able to avoid further incident to secure the 5-4 victory. FGCU has now dropped three of the last four meetings with Lipscomb but still lead the all-time series 13-10.
The Eagles will play Jacksonville under the lights at Swanson Stadium tomorrow night at 7 p.m. FGCU will be playing for the rights to a rematch with Lipscomb on Saturday at 1:15 p.m. Should the Eagles advance past JU, they would have to hand Lipscomb two losses on Saturday to advance to the Championship game on Sunday.
The 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship is being generously sponsored by Raymond Building Supply, The News Press, Wayne Wiles Floor Coverings, Culver’s, TECO Peoples Gas, Applebee’s, Naples Daily News, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McDonald’s, Beef O’ Brady’s, Allen Concrete and Masonry, Jason’s Deli and Youngquist Brothers Rock.
Full coverage of each game during the tournament including live stats and video can be found at FGCUAthletics.com/asunbaseball. The championship game on Sunday can be seen on ESPN3. If you can’t reach a computer, follow @FGCU_Baseball on Twitter or “like” FGCU Baseball on Facebook for daily news, photos and a constant stream of live updates during each game.
Tickets to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship are available. General admission day passes are available for $10 and tournament passes can be purchased for $35. Reserved seating day passes are available for $15 and tournament reserved seating passes are available for $55. For more information and additional deals, visit FGCUathletics.com/tickets, or call the ticket office at 239-590-7145.