FGCU baseball downs Jacksonville, 8-3

Author: FGCU athletics
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla. (FGCU Athletics) – The FGCU baseball team (18-17-1, 5-3 A-Sun) fell behind early on Saturday afternoon but rose to the challenge as it slowly chipped away at the Jacksonville (16-18, 3-2 A-Sun) lead before Zach Spivey dealt the knockout blow in the sixth with the first homerun of his young career. The Eagles would go on to claim an 8-3 victory and will be in search of a third-consecutive series victory over an Atlantic Sun opponent when they take the field at 1 p.m. tomorrow afternoon.

Brady Anderson (Arcadia, Fla./DeSoto HS) gave up three runs on three hits in the first inning but would only give up three hits over the next six frames to complete his outstanding outing on Saturday. He would strike out five Dolphins to earn his team-leading fourth victory of the season. Sterling Koerner (Fort Pierce, Fla./John Carrol HS) would clean up the final two innings in this one, striking out one to secure the victory for the Green and Blue.

Zach Spivey (Ormond Beach, Fla./Spruce Creek HS) had one of the best games of his young career, going 2-4 with a run scored, the first homerun of his career and three RBI, raising his batting average to .315. Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) stayed hot with a 2-2 effort with three walks, and three runs while Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) extended his hitting streak to a career-high 15 games with a 1-2 showing at the plate. He would walk twice and drive in two runs while scoring one. Colton Bottomley (Parkland, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) produced a pair of RBI despite going 0-3 on the day. He would pick up a sacrifice fly and a bases-loaded walk. At the top of the order, Matt Reardon (Palm City, Fla./Martin County) set the table all afternoon with a career-high four hits in five at-bats. He is just the second Eagle this season to register four hits in a game, Spivey is the other.

“I was pleased with the way we battled today,” head coach Dave Tollett said. “We didn’t panic when we got down early and Brady really shook off that first inning and settled things down. We picked up timely hits and defended very well which is how you are going to win games in this league. Tomorrow is a big game for us.”

Anderson retired the first batter he faced in the top of the first then gave up a single through the right side to JU catcher Drew Luther. The next batter would be retired via the fly out but Connor Marabell would single to center to keep the inning alive. Austin Hays followed with a single to left-center that flew just over the leaping glove ofReardon at short, driving in Luther for the first run of the game. Cameron Gibson followed with a high fly ball to shallow left. Eggnatz hustled over and dove in an attempt to make the catch but came up short allowing Gibson to coast into third with a pair of runs batted in. Anderson would pick up a strikeout to end the inning and keep the deficit at 3-0.

Reardon led off the bottom of the first with a seeing-eye single up the middle and Tyler Selesky (Estero, Fla./Estero HS) sacrificed him into scoring position for Rivera who singled to shallow left, putting runners on the corners. Noll came to the plate and laced a line drive to right but Hays was there to make the play, keeping Reardon at third. Spivey then lifted a lazy fly ball to left to end the threat for FGCU.

Adam Eggnatz (Tampa, Fla./Middle Georgia College) led off the bottom of the third by working a nine-pitch walk and after a pair of pop-ups, stole second to put a runner in scoring position for Rivera who also walked. Noll then came up and stroked a single to left, bringing in Eggnatz for the first FGCU run of the afternoon. Spivey followed with a walk to load the bases for Colton Bottomley. The Dolphins would go to the bullpen and bring in sidearm thrower, Dylan Dillard. Bottomley would work a four-pitch walk to bring in the second run of the inning and keep the bases loaded. The third pitcher of the frame came in to face Blake Berger (Jacksonville, Fla./Santa Fe College) who would fly out to center to end the inning.

Anderson was in cruise control on the mound, allowing just one base runner between the second and fifth innings. Rivera led off the bottom of the fifth with a line drive single up the middle and moved up to second when Noll worked a walk. Spivey would follow with a walk as well to load the bases for Bottomley who would bat for the second time with the bases loaded. The junior sent a fly ball to deep left, plenty deep enough to score Rivera from third to tie game, 3-3. Berger walked to load the bases back up for Anderson who flew out to right but not deep enough to bring home Noll. Eggnatz flew out to right as well to end the rally with the bases still loaded.

Reardon led off the bottom of the sixth with a bouncing ball up the middle that JU second baseman Angelo Amendolare barehanded on a hop and fired to first but not in time to get the speedy freshman. Selesky sacrificed Reardon over to second and he would move up to third when a breaking ball in the dirt bounced away from the JU catcher. Rivera came to the plate and worked the count full. Ball four was a fast ball that flew nowhere near the JU catcher and ended up at the backstop, allowing Reardon to hustle home and score the go-ahead run. Noll walked, bringing Spivey to the plate. The freshman turned on a 1-1 fastball and sent a line drive down the line in right that hit the top of the wall and bounced over the wall for the first homerun of his career, a three-run shot to make it 7-3, FGCU.

The Eagles would tack on an eighth run in the bottom of the seventh and Koerner would take the mound and pin down the Dolphins the rest of the way. The Eagles will be looking to take the regular season series with Jacksonville for the third straight year tomorrow.

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