Late Mercer Rally, Errors Doom @FGCU_Baseball in 5-3 Loss
WP | Dimitri Kourtis (5-0): 3.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO
LP | Jack English (3-3): 6.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO
FORT MYERS, Fla. – An error that led to a three-run inning for Mercer (34-11, 16-5 Atlantic Sun) and a late rally that went unmatched by the FGCU baseball team (28-17, 12-6 A-Sun) gave the Eagles their second loss to the Bears in as many days by score of 5-4. FGCU leaves the final scheduled regular season meeting between these two programs trailing 11-10 in the all-time series.
Jack English (Delray Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) made the start on the mound for FGCU and allowed just one earned run and lowered his ERA to 2.10. This makes the third-consecutive start in which English has allowed one earned run or fewer. The junior also struck out seven Bears on Sunday afternoon which his second-most punch-outs in a start this season. It would be errors that would earn English his third loss as the only earned run came across in the seventh inning. Sterling Koerner (Fort Pierce, Fla./John Carrol HS) worked 2.2 innings of relief, gave up three hits and did not allow an earned run.
Jake Noll (Punta Gorda, Fla./Charlotte HS) went 1-5 at the plate, extending his team-leading hit streak to seven games and stole a base to make him the FGCU single-season record holder for stolen bases with 21. Michael Suchy (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast HS)homered to drive in his two runs for the afternoon and finished 2-5. The only other FGCU bat to pick up multiple hits would be Cody Hoffner (Sebring, Fla./Broward College) who checked in with a 2-4 effort and walked once.
“Errors hurt us,” head coach Dave Tollett surmised, “Little mistakes against quality opponents always come back to bite you and that’s what happened today. Jack pitched great for us but we left too many runners on in big situations. No question we have some things we need to fix but we move on now to Tuesday.”
English and Eric Nyquist dueled through four innings and English had not allowed a hit entering the fifth. An FGCU error with a one out allowed a runner to reach first and was followed by a sacrifice bunt and then the first Mercer hit of the afternoon to bring in the first run of the ball game. The Bears would string together three hits in the inning to drive in two more runs and take a 3-0 lead, all unearned.
FGCU answered in the bottom half of the fifth with a two-out rally of its own. Colton Bottomley (Parkland, Fla./Marjory Stoneman Douglas HS) singled up the middle bringing up Suchy who launched a live drive to the opposite field that just kept going and soared over the right-center field wall for a two-run homerun, his fourth of the year.
In the bottom of the sixth, Alex Diaz (Miami, Fla./John A. Ferguson) came to the plate with one out and singled to right over the head of the Mercer second baseman and went on to steal second to put a runner in scoring position for Gage Morey (West Palm Beach, Fla./PB Central) who bounced to first for the second out but moved Diaz to third. Noll came to the plate and singled to drive in the game-tying run and stole second a few pitches later to break the single-season record. No more runs however would come across for FGCU in the sixth.
With new life, English took the mound in the seventh and walked the first batter he faced before getting the first out on a sacrifice bunt that moved the runner into scoring position. Danny Edgeworth followed with a single up the middle that drove in the go-ahead run and ended English’s afternoon. Koerner took over and put the clamps down on that Mercer rally, keeping the deficit at 4-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh.
FGCU would leave the bases loaded in the seventh and turn things back over to Koerner in the eighth. He would pick up two quick outs and a single before getting a ground ball to short that Diaz threw into right field trying to get the short out at second. The runner circled the bases and scored on the play to make it a 5-3 Bears lead.
The Eagles would strand two more runners in the eighth and go down in order in the ninth end this one. Dimitri Kourtis worked 3.1 innings of scoreless ball for Mercer to get the win in relief.
The Green and Blue will return to the field on Tuesday when they travel to FAU for a solo game with the Owls before heading to Northern Kentucky (12-28, 5-12 A-Sun) for a three game set next weekend.
Full coverage of each game including live stats and internet radio can be found at FGCUAthletics.com. 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.
ATLANTIC SUN CHAMPIONSHIP
For the first time in program history, the FGCU baseball team will play host to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Baseball Championship set to take place May 21-25 at Swanson Stadium. The top eight teams in the standings at the end of the regular season will advance to the championship and compete in a double-elimination style tournament to determine the A-Sun’s automatic qualifier to the NCAA Tournament. The Eagles are three-time A-Sun Regular Season Champions and finished second in the league last season.
Single-game tickets for FGCU Baseball are available at a cost of $6 for adults and $3 for children. Season tickets and tickets to the 2014 Atlantic Sun Championship are also available. For more information and additional deals, visit FGCUathletics.com/tickets, or call the ticket office at 239-590-7145.