Bats Fail the Eagles During Final Day in Gainesville, Drop Both Games, 9-1, 4-0
Saturday, March 01, 2014 | by Matt Moretti III (@Moretts13)
Photo Courtesy: Linwood Ferguson
Photo Courtesy: Linwood Ferguson
Illinois (5-4)
FGCU (6-5)
3/1/2014 | Gainesville, FL | Attendance: 0
Win: Kravetz (1-1) 7.061111
Loss: LABOZZETTA (0-1) 1.134420
Nagle (UI) 413200
Fletcher (UI) 413200
NOLL (FGCU) 413000

Illinois PDF Box | UF PDF Box

Game 1 vs. Illinois
WP | John Kravetz (1-1): 7.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO
LP | Brad Labozzetta (0-1): 1.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 0 SO

Game 2 vs. Florida
WP | Karsten Whitson (1-1): 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO
LP | Nick Deckert (1-2): 6.2 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO
SV | Aaron Rhodes (1): 4.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 SO


GAINESVILLE, Fla. –  The FGCU baseball team (6-6) dropped both games on Saturday to Illinois (5-4) and Florida (6-5) by a combined score of 13-1 as the bats failed the Eagles all day, emphasized by a three-hit performance against Florida in the night cap to send the Green and Blue home 1-3 on the weekend.

FGCU used five pitchers in game one and allowed nine earned runs, the most they’ve allowed all season and followed that up against Florida with a season-low three hits.

“We need to be better at the plate,” head coach Dave Tollett added after the games. “Our pitching has been good but our bats need to step up if we expect to be a good team.”

Game 1 - Illinois
Brad Labozzetta (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland HS) took the ball against Illinois in the afternoon and struggled through his outing. After working a quick first, he game out in the second and retired the first batter but from there it was all downhill. He would load the bases, walk in a run and balk in another to end his day after innings. Two more of his runners came around to score to give him a total of four earned runs to his credit to go with three hits and two walks. It was also the first start of the year in which Labozzetta failed to strike out a batter.

Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) was the only Eagle bat of note in game one as he registered three hits, extending his team-best hitting streak to six games and widening his team-lead of 18 hits. Noll raised his batting average .419 with the 3-4 effort, also best among FGCU players and score the lone run of the game to extend his commanding lead in that category as well (11).

FGCU looked poised to take control of this one early when a Noll single and steal of second to lead things off ultimately resulted a first-inning run for the Green and Blue. The bats would disappear, however, for the remainder of the contest as Illinois began to pile on runs inning-after-inning, forcing FGCU to use a total of six pitchers with nationally ranked Florida waiting in the night cap.

Labozzetta induced a pop-up to the first batter of the second but back-to-back singles, back-to-back walks and a balk would quickly produce two Illinois runs and end the Lakeland native’s day. Mario Leon (Naples, Fla./Gulf Coast HS) came on in relief and immediately gave up a single that scored two more UI runs. The damage would be limited to four in the second but Illinois was far from done.

FGCU would threaten again in the second but an inning-ending double-steal attempt that saw Gage Morey (W. Palm Beach, Fla./PB Central HS) thrown at home would seemingly take the wind out of the Eagles’ sails for the remainder of the game.

Leon would give up two earned runs of his own in the third and turned the ball over to Gabe Rivera (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty HS) calmed things down over 3.0 innings pitched but still allowed one earned of his own. Clint Knoblauch (Wellington, Fla./Wellington HS) made his first appearance of the season and gave the eighth and ninth Fighting Illini runs in his single inning of work. TJ Peterson (Plant City, Fla./Plant City HS) and Ryan Atwood (Austin, Texas/Navarro College) made their season debuts in damage control situations to keep Illinois stagnant at nine runs.

After picking up three hits in the first two innings, the FGCU bats only sprayed four more over the final seven innings and would go down quietly with a 9-1 defeat.

Game 2 – Florida
Nick Deckert (Tallahassee, Fla./Tallahassee CC)
took the ball for the Eagles against the Gators on Saturday night and worked quickly through the order early on and ended up striking out seven over 6.2 innings of work but allowing 10 hits and four runs. The Eagle offense provided no help as they mustered just three hits in the game and only one over the first six innings.

The Gators would strike first but had to wait out the pitching duel between Deckert and UF starter Karsten Whitson. The duo allowed just three total hits over the first 3.5 innings and in the bottom off the fourth Peter Alonso led things off with a single that was followed by a Mattson walk. Josh Tobias sacrificed the runners over with a bunt and it was a bunt from Ryan Larson that rolled passed the outstretched glove of Deckert that scored the first run of the ball game. Enjoying the trend, the Gators opted to bunt again this time sacrificing the second run home but that was all they would get in the fourth.

The Eagles did not respond well however to the call to action the Gators presented in the fourth. Nobody reached base in the fifth or sixth innings but in the seventh the Green and Blue strung together back-to-back hits with one out putting the tying run on base for Adam Eggnatz (Tampa, Fla./Brooks-DeBartolo Collegiate HS) who struck out on a check swing and was followed up by an Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./John A. Ferguson) ground out to end the threat.  

The Gators would add some insurance with a two-out rally in the bottom half of the seventh. Leadoff man Richie Martin singled and stole second allowing Casey Turgeon to come to the plate and rope a double down the right field line, scoring the third UF run of the ball game. Taylor Gushue followed suit with a double down the left field line, driving home the fourth run and ending Deckert’s day. Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) came on to record the final out of the inning to keep it at a 4-0 UF lead.

FGCU went down in order in the eighth and English kept the Gators at bay leaving this one in the hands of the Eagle offense with just three outs of life left. There would be no threat in the ninth from the Green and Blue however as the Gator pitching guided them the whole way in this one to the 4-0 victory.

Jake Noll would see his six-game hit streak come to an end against Florida going 0-3 from the plate.

The Eagles will be back at home on Tuesday (Mar. 4) at 2 p.m. for a tilt with the Michigan Wolverines. Anyone with a ticket the FGCU men’s basketball Atlantic Sun Championship Quarterfinal game vs. Stetson at 7 p.m. that night will receive free admission to the baseball game. The first 100 fans 12 and under will receive and FGCU baseball fan pack.