FGCU sweeps UF in extra innings finale

Rain drizzled onto the field in the 10th inning, and the Gators chances at a comeback slipped away with the pour. After gnawing at a 4-4 score since the seventh inning, Florida gained the opportunity for victory with a bases-loaded scene complimented by the beauty of no outs. But UF failed to execute, and FGCU's three-run homer in the 11th snagged the Eagles Sunday's 7-4 win and the series sweep.

Florida put the ball in the hands of freshman righty Eric Hanhold for Sunday's start on the mound. Hanhold let up two singles when the Gators had secured two outs in the first inning. However, he registered a strikeout on FGCU's Michael Suchy to strand the runners.

The Eagles entered the second inning swinging, when third baseman Zack Tillery led off with a single up the middle. Tillery scored off of the following at-bat — catcher Andrew Valencia's double down the left field line. Shortstop Alex Diaz's sacrifice bunt put the Eagles ahead 2-0.

"We have to get the ball down and we have to execute better on the mound," coach Kevin O'Sullivan said. "We need better starts. We haven't had a really good start all year long."

After a scoreless third inning on both sides of the contest, FGCU secured the leadoff walk in the fourth with Valencia's at-bat. O'Sullivan signaled for sophomore right-hander Johnny Magliozzi to take the hill.

"He's one of our better pitchers," O'Sullivan said of Magliozzi. "He hadn't pitched all weekend. I'm trying to win the game. We needed to win today. That was the mindset."

Florida froze Florida Gulf Coast from home through the fifth inning, when the Gators hit the scoreboard for the first time of the ball game.

Senior first baseman Vickash Ramjit led off with a single to short, but was later thrown out on Cody Dent's fielder's choice to first base. Dent advanced to second on a throwing error and scored off of freshman shortstop Richie Martin's RBI single through the left side to pinch the gap 2-1.

Magliozzi continued to command the mound in the sixth, retiring the Eagles in order. Right fielder Justin Shafer and third baseman Zack Powers led off the Gators' offense with back-to-back singles. Both advanced off of starting freshman catcher Kevin Stypulkowski's sacrifice bunt. Designated hitter Taylor Gushue reeled Shafer in with an RBI single into centerfield to tie the game.

FGCU, who also turned to a freshman right-hander for the start, called for a pitching change. The ball transferred from the hands of Michael Murray to freshman righty Gabe Rivera. Rivera faced Ramjit for his first batter of the day, letting up an RBI single to the senior, bringing Powers across the plate to secure the Gators with lead. Rivera balked, advancing Ramjit and Gushue into scoring positions. Dent produced a groundout RBI to short to score Ramjit, upping Florida's lead 4-2.

Two fly-outs deep in the seventh, the Eagles answered back. Lefty Sean Dwyer singled through the left side on a 1-1 count. Then, on the first pitch, Brooks Beisner homered over the right-field wall, tying the game at 4. After Suchy singled through the left side, O'Sullivan brought freshman right-hander Jay Carmichael out of the pen to replace Magliozzi. The freshman issued a fly out to bring the Gators up to bat.

FGCU junior right-hander Harrison Cooney took command on the mound for the Eagles for the rest of the game. Cooney retired the Gators in order in the seventh and eighth innings.

When Dwyer approached the plate in the top of the ninth with one out, Florida called upon left-hander Daniel Gibson to tackle the fellow lefty. But on an 0-1 count, Dwyer singled to centerfield to put runners on first and second. O'Sullivan immediately pulled Gibson to replace him with Shafer, as Corey Reid took over right field. Shafer struck out Beisner and Suchy grounded out to halt the Eagles offense.

"It gave us some momentum," Dent said of Shafer's two outs in the ninth.

Dent was the only Gator to gain momentum in the ninth, when he was issued a one-out walk and stole second. But the senior was left stranded, forcing the 4-4 game into extra innings.

Turgeon led off Florida's order in the 10th with a single into left field and moved his way to third on an error. Shafer and Powers joined the sophomore on the bases after they were intentionally walked to load the bases with no outs.


But Stypulkowski flew out in centerfield, Turgeon was thrown out at home off pinch hitter Christian Dick's fielder's choice to first and Ramjit flew out to centerfield.

Three Gators and the win were left on the bases.

O'Sullivan highlighted his team's failure in situational hitting throughout the series.

Martin, who went 3-for-6 with 1 RBI Sunday, said the missed opportunity in the 10th stalled Florida's tempo when they took the field for defense in the 11th.

"We had to go back out on defense and perform," Martin said. "We didn't do that. It put us in another hole."

The hole: Dwyer's two-out, three-run homer. His bomb over the right field wall brought FGCU to a final lead of 7-4, securing the Eagles with the sweep.

"They earned what they got this weekend," O'Sullivan said of FGCU. "They played outstanding. They swung the bats very well. I don't want to take anything away from them. They deserved and earned what they got this weekend."

Fightin Gators Top Stories