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Friday February 22, 2013FGCU Takes Series Opener Over No. 13 Florida, 8-2

Gainesville, Fla.

Florida Gulf Coast redshirt senior Brooks Beisner belted a go-ahead, three-run homer in the sixth inning and junior right-hander Ricky Knapp (2-0) hurled a complete game on 92 pitches as the Eagles (3-1) notched an 8-2 victory over No. 13 Florida (3-3) in the opener of the teams’ weekend series on Friday night at McKethan Stadium.

 

After FGCU was held hitless by junior Jonathon Crawford (Okeechobee, Fla.) (0-1) over 5.1 innings, Beisner turned a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead with a homer off of junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.) and the Eagles tacked on five more runs in the eighth to snap a four-game slide to the Gators. Sophomore Zack Tillery had a three-run double in the eighth, while freshman Tyler Selesky (2-for-5) and senior Mike Reeves (2-for-4) were effective at the top of the lineup for FGCU. Senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) drove in both runs for Florida with two sacrifice flies.

 

The Gators opened the scoring in the second inning on Ramjit’s second sacrifice fly of the season. Sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) (2-for-3, two runs) had led off with a single up the middle to increase his hitting streak to four games and redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) (2-for-3) followed with a double down the left-field line to put the hosts in business. Ramjit’s sac fly to center field brought home Shafer before Knapp had sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) foul out and sophomore Josh Tobias (Greensboro, N.C.) strike out.

 

In the third inning, redshirt sophomore Alex Diaz walked with one down for FGCU and stole second base before Ramjit made a diving stop on a ball hit by Selesky just beyond first base for the second out. Crawford had Reeves fly out to center field to end the frame.

 

Beisner came through with a three-run homer with two down in the sixth to move the Eagles in front. Crawford had retired eight-straight hitters before plunking Diaz to start the inning. After an infield fly by Selesky, a walk to Reeves prompted a pitching change. Over 5.1 hitless innings, Crawford matched his season-high of four strikeouts and issued two walks. He was charged with a pair of runs. Gibson had junior Sean Dwyer pop up to Ramjit for the second out and Beisner sent a 0-1 pitch to deep left field for his team-leading third homer of the campaign. It was also FGCU’s first hit of the contest.   

 

“I thought he [Jonathon Crawford] was really good,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “Obviously, when you pitch 5.1 [innings] and you don’t give up any hits, he’s doing something right. But, that one inning when we gave up a three-run homer, that started with a walk and a hit batter; I don’t know if he ran out of gas or what, but overall I thought he pitched much better than he did the first weekend and he certainly will build off of that for next Friday.”

 

Freshman Jay Carmichael (Cape Coral, Fla.) replaced Gibson (0.2 IP, 1 H) prior to the seventh and yielded a one-out single to sophomore Michael Suchy. The righty had freshman Colton Bottomley fly out to left field and then picked Suchy off first base to complete the inning.

 

Ramjit’s second sac fly of the game brought the Gators within 3-2 in the bottom of the frame. Shafer led off with a base-hit up the middle and Powers followed with a single into the gap in left center for two runners in scoring position after Shafer took third and Powers advanced on the relay throw. Ramjit flew out to center and Shafer tagged up and came home to narrow UF’s deficit to one run. Gushue moved Powers to third base with a grounder and Knapp had freshman pinch hitter Christian Dicks (Jacksonville, Fla.) ground out to second base to preserve the Eagles’ lead.

 

Carmichael (1.1 IP, 1 H) registered his first career strikeout to start the eighth and was replaced by freshman Parker Danciu (Delray Beach, Fla.). The Eagles erupted for five runs on four hits to build an 8-2 lead. Selesky punched a single into right field and Reeves sliced a base-hit into right field for runners on the corners with one down. An RBI single by Dwyer gave the Eagles a 4-2 lead and brought redshirt freshman Aaron Rhodes (Venice, Fla.) in from the bullpen for Danciu (3 H, 3 R). Beisner walked to fill the bags with one out and Bednar was hit by pitch to drive in Reeves for a 5-2 score. Tillery then cleared the bases with a three-run double into the left-field corner.

 

Knapp became the first Florida opponent to register a complete game since Arkansas’ DJ Baxendale accomplished the feat on May 5, 2011. Knapp gave up six hits and two runs, with four strikeouts and zero walks, to collect his second victory in as many starts.

 

The Gators will send freshman right-hander Tucker Simpson (Oxford, Ala.) (0-0, 4.50) to the mound tomorrow at 4 p.m. against FGCU junior left-hander Brandon Bixler (0-0, 0.00). The game can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell and will be streamed live on GatorVision.

        

Game Notes

·         FGCU snapped a four-game losing streak to Florida and won for the second time in the series, which UF leads, 6-2.

·         Freshman Harrison Bader raised his hitting streak to three games with a third-inning single.

·         The eight runs scored by FGCU tied the season-high scored by an opponent (Georgia Southern, 2/20).

·         The Gators notched their first errorless game of 2013.

·         Sophomore Josh Tobias made his first start as designated hitter for the Gators and went 0-for-2 on the night.

·         Sophomore Justin Shafer extended his hitting streak to four games, going 2-for-3 on the night.

·         Redshirt sophomore Zack Powers had his first double of the season in the second inning, and totaled two hits tonight.

·         Junior Jonathon Crawford did not give up any hits in his season-high 5.1-inning stint tonight. He also tallied four strikeouts, matching his season high.

·         Tonight marked the first game this season that the Gators did not score in the sixth inning.

·         Sophomore second baseman Casey Turgeon’s six-game hitting streak dating back to last season ended with a 0-for-4 performance.

·         Freshman right-hander Jay Carmichael made his third appearance on the mound and threw a career-high 1.1 scoreless innings, recording his first strikeout as a Gator. The righty picked off Eagles’ center fielder Michael Suchy at first base to end the seventh.

·         The Gators’ pitching staff has three pickoffs this season, compared to one in 2012.

·         Freshman infielder Brady Roberson made his collegiate debut as a pinch hitter in the ninth inning and grounded into a double play.

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