College Roundup: FGCU Upsets Florida Again

In the 2013 NCAA basketball tournament, the No. 15-seeded Florida Gulf Coast Eagles shocked the country by playing their way into the Sweet Sixteen. In the process, the Eagles earned the moniker “Dunk City.”

Four years later, the FGCU baseball team might need to start brainstorming a nickname of its own.

The Eagles are rolling. Fresh off a sweep of a powerful UNC-Wilmington team on the road last weekend, FGCU completed a two-game home-and-home midweek sweep of No. 3 Florida on Wednesday night and did so in thrilling fashion.

HOW THE TOP 25 FARED
(1) Texas Christian: off
(2) Florida State: won, 5-0, at Central Florida
(3) Florida: lost, 3-2, vs. Florida Gulf Coast
(4) Louisville: won 12-2, vs. Fort Wayne
(5) Oregon State: off
(6) Louisiana State: lost, 5-4, at McNeese State
(7) Cal State Fullerton: won, 13-4, at Arizona State
(8) East Carolina: won, 15-12, at College of Charleston
(9) Clemson: won, 9-2, vs. Michigan State at Greenville, S.C.
(10) South Carolina: won, 8-6, vs. Winthrop
(11) Arizona: off
(12) Washington: off
(13) Virginia: off
(14) Texas Tech: off
(15) Louisiana-Lafayette: off
(16) Stanford: off
(17) North Carolina: off
(18) Coastal Carolina: lost, 13-8, vs. Wake Forest
(19) Georgia Tech: off
(20) North Carolina State: won, 8-5, at UNC-Wilmington
(21) Mississippi: lost, 2-0, vs. Georgia State
(22) St. John’s: off
(23) Oklahoma State: off
(24) Baylor: off
(25) Texas A&M: won, 7-4, vs. Texas-Rio Grande Valley

With two outs and the tying run on first base in the bottom of the ninth, Florida’s Jonathan India drilled a ball to deep right-center, but FGCU center fielder Gage Morey made a sensational diving catch near the warning track to steal a potential game-tying extra-base hit and end the game. The Eagles won, 3-2, in Gainesville, Fla., one day after beating Florida, 7-3, at home. The win was the team’s eighth straight and pushed the Eagles to 12-2 on the season—the best start in program history.

“It’s been a great two days for this program,” FGCU coach Dave Tollett told fgcuathletics.com. “To take two games against a team like Florida, it’s huge. Peyton Gray responded from a shaky start and was unreal on the mound. The bullpen backed him up, and obviously Gage Morey made the catch of the year to seal the deal. We’ll enjoy this one, but it’s also time to start getting ready for a good Ohio State team that comes to town this weekend.”

Meanwhile, for Florida, the loss was its first home loss of the season. A year after going undefeated on midweek games, the Gators are now 1-4 in midweek games on the year. A positive for Florida is that junior J.J. Schwarz homered to start off the ninth inning. After hitting 18 homers his freshman year, Schwarz has struggled to consistently tap into his power.

The Gators weren’t the only Top 10 team to fall on Wednesday. Coming out of a stacked tournament in Houston, No. 6 Louisiana State lost for the third time in four games in a midweek 5-4 upset at the hands of McNeese State.

The Cowboys took the lead in the seventh on a squeeze bunt by senior Matt Gallier and added much-needed insurance on a solo homer by junior Mitchell Rogers in the eighth—his second home run of the game.

The win pushed McNeese State to 9-4 on the season, with all four of its losses coming against Arizona. LSU is also 9-4 and will host Wichita State this weekend in its final series before Southeastern Conference play begins.

“I think that was the most team-game we have played thus far all the way around this season,” McNeese coach Justin Hill told mcneesesports.com. “Whether it was LSU or someone else, I was proud of how we played a complete game all the way around. The atmosphere was fantastic and thought our fans represented well tonight.”

Over in Conway, S.C., Wake Forest defeated defending national champion No. 18 Coastal Carolina, 13-8, on the strength of homers from outfielder Stuart Fairchild, catcher Ben Breazeale and third baseman Johnny Aiello. The Demon Deacons, a regional team last year, are 10-4 on the season and will host North Carolina State this weekend to open ACC play.

The Wolfpack earned a much-needed win at UNC-Wilmington after losing four of its last five games. Brad Debo, Evan Mendoza and Will Wilson all homered to the lead the Wolfpack to victory, while the scuffling Seahawks fell to 3-8 on the year.

Speaking of home runs, reigning Freshman of the Year Seth Beer homered for the third straight game, hitting a grand slam to lead No. 9 Clemson to a 9-2 win over Michigan State at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C.

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