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FGCU Baseball Takes Two from FIU in Mid-Week Doubleheader, 8-6, 10-4
|Win: BIXLER (4-3)||4.1||3||3||3||2||4|
|Loss: Caballero (1-3)||3.0||8||7||7||1||2|
|Win: TILLERY (3-1)||6.0||6||2||2||1||3|
|Loss: Seibold (2-4)||2.0||1||1||1||1||2|
MIAMI, Fla. – After battling a four hour rain delay in the first contest of the day, the FGCU baseball team was able to take both games of the mid-week non-conference doubleheader with FIU on Wednesday evening in Miami, Fla., defeating the Panther 8-6, 10-4 at the FIU Baseball Stadium.
The pair of victories pushed the Eagles’ record to 27-16 on the year, while the Panthers fell to 23-21 this season with the two losses. The Green and Blue also improved to 8-5 in the all-time series between the schools.
“Today was a real test of what this team was made of,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “After an early bus trip for a doubleheader matchup, I was pleased with the way the team played after a pretty long rain delay. Considering the later start, it was also nice to see the offensive effort provided by the guys in the second game. I am happy with the way the team played today and I am glad we were able to come away with a pair of wins over a quality opponent.”
In game one, the Eagles jumped out early in the first inning when senior Mike Reeves (Peterborough, Ontario/St. Peter’s Secondary) singled to right to begin the game and sophomore Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS) drove him in on a two-run home run to left field, giving FGCU a 2-0 advantage.
The Green and Blue saw more of the same in the second inning as freshman Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) and sophomore Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) both singled to place runners at first and second. Freshman Colton Bottomley (Davie, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) then cleared the bases with his first career home run as the Eagles moved out in front 5-0.
FGCU added two more in the third when Rivera followed a Brooks Beisner (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS/Auburn) fielder’s choice with a two-out home run to left to give the Green and Blue a seven-run cushion through three frames.
The Panthers rallied with six unanswered runs over the next three innings to bring the game within one run. FIU got two back in the home half of the fourth when Josh Anderson connected for a two-run home run to left field. With one out and runners on the corners in the fifth, an error at second allowed the third run of the game to score for the Panthers, who plated another later in the inning on a sacrifice fly to left field. Holding runners at second and third with one out in the sixth, a single up the middle by Tyler Hibbert scored one, and the at-bat was followed with a double down the left field line from Julius Gaines to narrow the FGCU lead to 7-6 heading to the seventh.
Reeves provided the Eagles with an insurance tally in the eighth, sending his first home run of the season over the wall in right field to put the Green and Blue up 8-6. FGCU held FIU scoreless over its final two chances at the plate to finalize the two-run victory.
Starting the contest for the Eagles, junior left-hander Brandon Bixler (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) (4-3) went the first 4.1 innings before exiting early due to the rain delay, allowing three runs on as many hits with a pair of walks and four strikeouts in the winning effort.
FGCU scored eight runs on 11 hits and one FIU error. Reeves led the way, going 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI and a run scored on the home run. Suchy provided a 2-for-5 game which included two RBI and a run scored, while Rivera went 2-for-5 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI. Bottomley’s home run and three RBI came in a 1-for-3 game with one run scored.
FIU plated six runs on nine hits and one FGCU error. Senior right-hander John Caballero (1-3) was dealt the loss after going the first three innings and allowing seven runs on eight hits and a walk with a pair of strikeouts.
Playing as the home team in the second contest, the Eagles jumped out to a 4-0 lead through the first three innings. A walk to junior Sean Dwyer (Tavares, Fla./Tavares HS) to begin the second was followed with a two-out single by freshman Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) to put runners on the corners. A wild pitch in the next at-bat allowed Dwyer to score the first run of the game.
Three more runs touched the plate in the home side of the third after a leadoff single from junior Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) and back-to-back walks issued to Suchy and junior Brandon Bednar (Stuart, Fla./South Fork HS). A wild pitch in the inning allowed Valencia to score and after a walk to Dwyer reloaded the bases, another walk to Beisner brought another run in for the Eagles. FGCU extended its edge to 4-0 in the inning when Bednar came across the plate on another wild pitch in the frame.
Consecutive doubles started the FIU sixth inning, allowing one run to come across the plate. With a runner still on second in the inning, a single into right field cut the FGCU lead to 4-2.
In the Eagles’ side of the seventh the lead grew by four runs, after singles from Reeves and Bednar positioned runners on first and second for Beisner, who sent a single through the left side to score Reeves. RBI singles in the next two at-bats from Rivera and Seleksy pushed the lead to 7-2, before Bottomley loaded the bags on a hit-by-pitch. Yet another wild pitch in the game allowed Rivera to advance for the 8-2 lead.
FGCU contributed two more to its effort in the eighth inning, finding the bases loaded on a hit-by-pitch to Reeves, a single from Suchy and a walk to Bednar. Beisner recorded a full-count RBI walk, and Selesky did the same with two outs later in the inning as the lead increased to 10-2.
FIU scored two runs in its last chance at the plate, getting a single from Antonio Rodriguez and a walk from Zach Sweety with two outs. Edwin Rios scored both runners on a double to left center for the final scoring on the night, as the Eagles recorded the final out in the next at-bat to earn the 10-4 victory.
Starting the second contest for the Green and Blue, sophomore right-hander Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) (3-1) went six innings and allowed two runs on six hits and one walk, while striking out three in the winning effort.
The second contest saw the Eagles score 10 runs on 10 hit, led by a 2-for-3 game from Beisner that included a pair of walks, three RBI and one run scored. Suchy went 2-for-4 in the game with a pair of runs scored and Selesky hit 2-for-3 with two RBI. Reeves (1-for-2) and Bednar (1-for-3, 2 BB) each scored twice in the game.
FIU scored four runs on 11 hits and two FGCU errors in game two. Freshman right-hander Alex Seibold (2-4) went the first two innings and allowed one run on one hit and one walk, recording two strikeouts in the loss.
The Eagles look ahead to a three-game Atlantic Sun Conference series with Jacksonville (14-25, 7-7 A-Sun), beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Swanson Stadium. A full preview of the weekend set will be available at www.FGCUATHLETICS.com on Thursday.