Jack English is Brilliant in Complete-Game Shutout of Jacksonville
WP | Jack English (4-4): 9.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 4 BB, 7 SO
LP | Josh Baker (3-5): 5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 SO
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Behind a brilliant complete-game shutout from Jack English, the No. 1 seeded FGCU baseball team (38-21) staved off elimination from the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship Friday evening courtesy of a 3-0 victory over Jacksonville University (21-33). With the win, the Eagles move on to play No. 4 Lipscomb (32-26) at approximately 1:15 p.m. Saturday.
English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) was clutch when his team needed him the most as he did not allow a hit until the 7th inning, and his only two hits allowed on the evening both careened off FGCU defenders. The junior was sporadic at times as he walked four and hit two more, but the sophomore right hander battled through several early jams and after tossing 136 pitches he wrapped up his first career complete game.
Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS), Nick Rivera (Cape Coral, Fla./Bishop Verot HS) and Zack Tillery (Naples, Fla./Barron Collier HS) all collected two hits each in the middle of the FGCU lineup, with Rivera and Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) driving in the Green and Blue’s only two runs.
“I think Jack gave us an unbelievable effort,” head coach Dave Tollett added. “For him to throw a complete-game shutout to avoid us having to go into the bullpen when we have potentially four games over the next two days is huge. I mean that’s just an unbelievable effort for Jack and by far his best individual performance.”
Just as they did Thursday night when they scored three runs in the first inning against Lipscomb, the Eagles started fast against the Dolphins. With two outs, Suchy sent a seemingly innocent single up the middle, but red-hot Rivera made it hurt as he followed by driving an 0-1 offering into the right-center gap to easily score Suchy and provide English a 1-0 lead.
At the time, FGCU had nine RBI as a team during the tournament, and Rivera was responsible for five of them.
English – who was on the wrong end of a 1-0 decision during the regular season against the Dolphins – got himself into trouble with a walk and two hit batters through the first two innings. However, he received a double play to get out of a jam in the first inning and induced an inning-ending ground out with runners on the corners in the second.
After retiring the side in order in the third, English once again ran into trouble in the fourth following consecutive walks. With runners on first and second and one out, catcher Andrew Valencia (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) threw out a potential base stealer at third, and English followed with a strike out to once again work his way out of a difficult situation.
The Eagles gave their starter some much-needed additional support in the fifth when Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./John A. Ferguson)worked an eight-pitch walk with one out and then plated the second run of the game when Noll laced a double inside the third-base bag.
Carrying that 2-0 lead into the sixth, English quickly sat down the first two batters before FGCU’s third error of the game allowed JU’s ninth batter of the contest to reach. However, like he did in the first five innings English once again stranded the runner –his sixth of the evening – as he retired the next batter on a fly out.
The Green and Blue added another important insurance run in the sixth when Gage Morey (West Palm Beach, Fla./Palm Beach Central) ripped a single into center field. Tillery originally held up coming around third base, but the throw from center was up the line, allowing him to plate the third tally of the evening.
Rivera has been the pace setter at the plate for FGCU in this tournament, going 5-10 with five of the Eagle’s 10 RBI. He has also scored three of the 12 runs.
If FGCU defeats Lipscomb on Saturday, the two teams will meet again later in the day at either 5 or 8:15 p.m. No. 3 seed Kennesaw State will play No. 7 Stetson at 10 a.m., and if KSU wins the Hatters will be eliminated. However, if Stetson wins that matchup, the two teams will play again at 5 p.m., pushing the FGCU contest (if the Eagles beat Lipscomb) to 8:15. However, if Kennesaw State wins and FGCU wins, the Eagles will play Lipscomb at 5 p.m.
The 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship is being generously sponsored by Raymond Building Supply, The News Press, Wayne Wiles Floor Coverings, Culver’s, TECO Peoples Gas, Applebee’s, Naples Daily News, Moe’s Southwest Grill, McDonald’s, Beef O’ Brady’s, Allen Concrete and Masonry, Jason’s Deli and Youngquist Brothers Rock.
Full coverage of each game during the tournament including live stats and video can be found at FGCUAthletics.com/asunbaseball. The championship game on Sunday can be seen on ESPN3. If you can’t reach a computer, follow @FGCU_Baseball on Twitter or “like” FGCU Baseball on Facebook for daily news, photos and a constant stream of live updates during each game.
Tickets to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship are available. General admission day passes are available for $10 and tournament passes can be purchased for $35. Reserved seating day passes are available for $15 and tournament reserved seating passes are available for $55. For more information and additional deals, visit FGCUathletics.com/tickets, or call the ticket office at 239-590-7145.