The FGCU baseball team (28-12, 4-5 ASUN) suffered its second shutout loss of the season as the FIU Panthers (23-15, 8-7 C-USA) defeated the Eagles, 7-0, Wednesday night at FIU Baseball Stadium.
FIU jumped out to a first-inning lead for the second straight night and never looked back. After FGCU starter Peyton Gray (3-2) worked to a full count against the first three Panthers he faced and issued a leadoff walk and one-out single, JC Escarra gave FIU the early lead with a two-out, two-RBI double down the right-field line.
The Panthers never looked back from there as starting pitcher Chris Mourelle (4-2) tossed 6 scoreless innings and gave way to a trio of bullpen arms that allowed just one hit the rest of the way.
Playing with a 2-0 lead, the Panthers extended its advantage in the home half of the third as the first three batters of the inning reached and Irving Lopez scored his second run of the game on a RBI single up the middle from Zach Soria. After a sacrifice bunt moved a pair of runners into scoring position with one out, FGCU escaped further damage as Escarra lined into an inning-ending double play.
Eagles' freshman catcher Alex Brait reached base for the 15th straight contest as he hit a leadoff single through the right side to start the fourth. The Eagles again had its leadoff man reach for the second straight inning as Gage Morey drew a walk to start the fifth inning, but, like Brait the inning prior, Morey was stranded in scoring position.
Gray hit Derek Cartaya with an 0-2 pitch to start the bottom of the fifth and was relieved by Sterling Koerner. Lopez then sent the first pitch he saw from Koerner over the right-field wall to extend the lead to 5-0.
FIU added a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth after Kenny Meimerstorf hit a leadoff single and came in to score on Escarra's second RBI double of the night. Escarra later crossed home plate on a pinch-hit RBI single from Christian Coipel to cap off the scoring for the night.
Offensively, Brait accounted for three of the Eagles' five hits and recorded his third three-hit game of the season. Julio Gonzalez and Richie Garcia accounted for the other two.
FIU 12, FGCU 5: After falling behind 9-0 through four innings, FGCU (28-11, 4-5 ASUN) outscored and outhit FIU (22-15, 8-7 C-USA) in the final five frames but ultimately came up short as the Eagles dropped a 12-5 decision to the visiting Panthers Tuesday night at Swanson Stadium.
FIU scored its nine runs in the first four innings on 10 hits but was held to just four hits the remainder of the game. On the other hand, FGCU was held scoreless while recording only one hit in its first four at-bats but plated five runs on 11 hits from the fifth through ninth innings. However, the nine-run deficit proved to be insurmountable as FGCU hurt itself with three walks, five hit by pitches and two errors that lead to a pair of unearned runs.
Trailing 9-1 entering the bottom of the sixth, the Eagles appeared primed for a big inning as they plated a pair of runs on a RBI triple from Julio Gonzalez and RBI double from Richie Garcia and had the bases loaded with nobody out. However, FIU reliever Michael Agis got a 3-2-3 double play and strikeout to escape the frame without further damage done.
Both starting pitchers factored into the decision as Mario Leon (3-2, 4.33) suffered the loss while his Panther counterpart, Robert Garcia (4-4, 3.86), earned the win.
Offensively, FGCU's 12 hits were its most since also recording 12 hits against Jacksonville on Apr. 1. On the other hand, the Eagles' 12 runs allowed were the most since allowing a season-high 13 runs to Bethune-Cookman on Feb. 24. Morey turned in his third three-hit game of the season while Reardon, Gonzalez and Garcia added a pair of hits for the Green and Blue.
FGCU hits the road for an important conference road series at UNF. Game one in Jacksonville is scheduled for today at 6 p.m. followed by games two and three Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m.