Saturday February 23, 2013FGCU Clinches Series With 8-3 Victory Over No. 13 Florida
Senior Mike Reeves (2-for-5) snapped a 1-1 tie with a two-out RBI single in the fifth inning and FGCU (4-1) added a three-run homer by sophomore Michael Suchy (2-for-3) in the sixth inning en route to an 8-3 win over No. 13 Florida (3-4) on Saturday afternoon at McKethan Stadium. Junior left-hander Brandon Bixler (1-0) limited the Gators to one run on four hits over five innings before senior R.J. Brown hurled the final four innings to collect his first save of the season. Three different Eagles turned in multiple-hit outings after the visitors had captured Friday’s opener.
“I thought we got a good start from Tucker Simpson,” head coach Kevin O’Sullivan said. “We have to do a better job offensively. We had seven hits that were scattered. We are trying to do some things offensively; put guys in motion; hit and runs. We haven't been able to string along quality at bats. We have some work to do; it’s as simple as that. Teams go through periods where they don't play so well. At this point, we aren't playing so well. There is nothing we can do about yesterday or today, we just have to come out and be ready to play tomorrow.”
After an eight-pitch top of the first inning by freshman righty Tucker Simpson (Oxford, Ala.) (0-1), sophomore Justin Shafer (Lake Wales, Fla.) put the Gators on the scoreboard with a wind-aided RBI double to center field. Freshman Harrison Bader (Bronxville, N.Y.) had drawn a leadoff walk from Bixler and stolen second for his team-leading third theft. Freshman Richie Martin (Brandon, Fla.) was hit by a pitch for two Gators aboard and sophomore Casey Turgeon (Palm Harbor, Fla.) advanced his teammates with a grounder. Shafer’s team-high third double provided the hosts with the opening score for the second day in a row. A fielder’s choice by redshirt sophomore Zack Powers (Seffner, Fla.) to Bixler resulted in Martin being thrown out at the plate and then Shafer was erased at the dish on an attempted double steal.
Redshirt senior Brooks Beisner (2-for-4) led off the second for the Eagles with a double into left field and junior Brandon Bednar walked before sophomore Zack Tillery moved his teammates into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Simpson worked out of the jam by striking out Suchy and having freshman Colton Bottomley pop up to second base.
Simpson had retired seven-consecutive FGCU batters until hitting Beisner with one down in the fourth. A wild pitch moved the runner into scoring position and a grounder by Bednar pushed Beisner to third with two out. Simpson had Tillery ground out to Powers to end the frame.
The Eagles scored twice in the fifth to seize a 2-1 lead. Suchy led off with a base-hit into center field, went to second on a grounder by Bottomley and came in on a double into left field by redshirt sophomore Alex Diaz. After fanning freshman Tyler Selesky for the second out, Simpson (4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 K) was replaced by junior Daniel Gibson (Lutz, Fla.). Reeves greeted the southpaw with a base-hit up the middle to plate Diaz.
“No doubt I felt a lot more comfortable today versus last week,” Simpson said of his second collegiate start. “I know going out there, in the bullpen especially, I felt like I had it under control but then seeing the pre-game video on the board I started to get a little bit nervous. But, I think getting that under my belt and coming out today I was a lot more comfortable than last week.”
UF threatened in the bottom of the inning, as senior Vickash Ramjit (Miami, Fla.) and sophomore Taylor Gushue (Boca Raton, Fla.) started with consecutive walks. Bixler retired Tobias on an infield fly, Ramjit was thrown out at third as part of a double steal for the second out and Bixler struck out senior Cody Dent (Boynton Beach, Fla.) to preserve the Eagles’ advantage.
Sophomore Ryan Harris (Jupiter, Fla.) took over for Gibson (0.1 IP, 1 H) prior to the sixth and issued a one-out walk to Bednar. Tillery followed with a single into left field and then Suchy boosted FGCU’s lead to 5-1 with a three-run homer to left field for his first career round-tripper.
Bixler limited the Gators to one run on four hits over five innings before Brown took over on the mound. Martin had a one-out infield single and Turgeon was hit by a pitch before Shafer flew out to right field. Powers was plunked to fill the bags with two down and Ramjit walked to narrow Florida’s deficit to 5-2 as Martin came in. Brown worked out of further trouble by inducing a pop-up by Gushue.
FGCU used a pair of triples in the seventh by junior Sean Dwyer and Bednar to expand its lead to 7-2. Freshman Danny Young (Boca Raton, Fla.) came in at the outset of the inning for Harris (1.0 IP, 2 H, 3 R) and yielded a leadoff single to Selesky. The left-hander had Reeves pop up a sacrifice bunt attempt and Dwyer ripped a triple to center field to score Selesky. Freshman Mike Vinson (Miami, Fla.) came in for Young (0.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R) and Powers robbed Beisner of a potential single with a diving stab for the second out. However, Bednar tripled to center field to put FGCU ahead by five runs.
Beisner had an RBI single in the ninth inning with one down that brought home Reeves, who had singled with one down off Vinson (2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 K). In the Gators’ ninth, freshman Kevin Stypulkowski (Lake Worth, Fla.) came through with his first career extra-base hit with a double into left center and freshman Brady Roberson (Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) delivered a pinch-hit RBI single up the middle to score Stypulkowski and finalize the 8-3 margin. The Eagles out-hit UF, 11-7, and neither team committed any errors.
Freshman right-hander Eric Hanhold (Palm Harbor, Fla.) (0-0, 6.75) will make his collegiate starting debut in tomorrow’s finale at 12:30 p.m. versus FGCU freshman right-hander Michael Murray (1-0, 0.00). The game can be seen live on FOX Sports Florida with Nick Belmonte and Mick Hubert, can be heard on the Gator IMG Sports Network with Jeff Cardozo and Steve Russell and will be streamed live on GatorVision.
· With the 8-3 win, FGCU secured the series triumph.
· The Gators still hold a 6-3 advantage over the Eagles in the all-time series.
· FGCU has plated eight runs in both games of the series.
· In the bottom of the first inning, freshman Harrison Bader drew his third career walk and swiped his third bag of the season with one out.
· Sophomore Justin Shafer had a two-out double in the first inning that extended his hitting streak to four games.
· Freshman RHP Tucker Simpson made his second start on the mound for Florida, pitching a career-high 4.2 innings. His final line on the afternoon was 4.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 3 K, 1 BB.
· Sophomore Josh Tobias made his second start as the designated hitter for the Gators. He went 1-for-2 on the afternoon.
· Of the seven games the Gators have played this season, sophomore right-hander Ryan Harris has now pitched in five of those games.
· Freshman Richie Martin raised his hitting streak to four games with a sixth-inning single.
· The game was Florida’s second-straight errorless outing of the 2013 season.
· Freshman reliever Mike Vinson threw a career-long 2.2 innings to finish the game for the Orange and Blue.