Baseball Falters in Series Finale at #23 FGCU
FORT MYERS, Fla. - One day after splitting a double header with the #23 team in the country, the Manhattan baseball team as shutout, 3-0, by Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) on Sunday afternoon. The Eagles (8-3) won the weekend series three games to one, dropping the Jaspers to 1-6 on the season.
Another pitcher's duel closed out the weekend as the game would go scoreless through five innings. It was not without excitement, however. FGCU put runners on base in all except one inning, but senior pitcher Matt Jordan (Kingston, N.Y./Kingston) was up to the task early. In the bottom of the first, back-to-back one-out walks would be harmless as Brooks Beisner lined into a double play to end the inning.
Jordan would strand two more runners in the second and fifth while keeping another on the base paths in both the third and fourth innings. FGCU would break through however in the bottom of the sixth. Michael Suchy led off the frame with a single back through the box before Zack Tillery sacrificed him to second. A double from Nick Rivera plated Suchy and gave the Eagles a 1-0 lead. After striking out the next batter, Jordan issued a two-out walk to Alex Diaz, spelling the end of his outing. Michael Scarinci (Nanuet, N.Y./Pearl River) would come on in relief and give up a single to Brandon Bednar before getting out of the inning.
Meanwhile, Brandon Bixler was keeping the Jaspers hitter at bay in his start. He had allowed just three hits and three walks during his seven innings. Bixler finished the day with 11 strikeouts before giving way to Danny Patrick.
The Jaspers looked to answer in the top of the seventh when Christian Santisteban (Miami, Fla./Gulliver Prep) worked a one-out walk. He would be retired on Joe Rock's fielder's choice putting a runner on with two outs. Rock (Carmel, N.Y./Kennedy Catholic) stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch, but would be stranded there as Yoandry Galan (Miami, Fla./Florida Christian) grounded out to second to end the inning.
The Eagles would add to their 2-0 lead in the home half of the seventh when Sean Abbate (Levittown, N.Y./Division Avenue) attempted to pick off Beisner at third with two outs. Manhattan attempted to rally in both the eighth and ninth but hit into inning-ending double plays each time.
Bixler (2-0) earned the win for FGCU while Patrick picked up his first save of the season. Jordan (0-2) took the loss for Manhattan tossing five and two-thirds innings, allowing two runs on four hits and walking seven.
The Jaspers will return action this coming weekend as they play their first set of games above the Mason-Dixon Line when they travel to Pittsburgh, Pa. to take part in the Panther Classic hosted by the University of Pittsburgh. Manhattan will start the weekend against Youngstown State at noon on Fri. March 8 as part of a four game set.