Great Start For Florida Gulf Coast Gets Even Better

Courtesy of FGCU Athletics

SEE ALSO: Top 25 Coverage

Florida Gulf Coast is off to the best start in program history, and it got even better for the Eagles on Wednesday night.

No. 21 FGCU defeated No. 2 Florida State, 5-2, at jetBlue Park, the Red Sox's spring training home.

FGCU (15-3) has already won three games against Florida and Florida State this season, as the Eagles swept a home-and-home midweek series against the Gators last week. Wednesday was the end of a stretch of 13-straight games against 2016 NCAA tournament teams for the Eagles. FGCU went 11-2 in those games and had won 10 straight before losing Sunday's series finale against Ohio State.

HOW THE TOP 25 FARED
(1) Louisville: won, 13-4, vs. Xavier
(2) Florida State: lost, 5-2, at (21) Florida Gulf Coast
(3) Texas Christian: off
(4) Oregon State: off
(5) Florida: off
(6) Louisiana State: lost, 7-4, vs. New Orleans
(7) Cal State Fullerton: won, 4-0, vs. (12) Arizona
(8) East Carolina: off
(9) Clemson: won, 10-8, vs. Yale
(10) South Carolina: off
(11) Texas Tech: off
(12) Arizona: lost, 4-0, at (7) Cal State Fullerton
(13) North Carolina: off
(14) Louisiana-Lafayette: lost, 6-5, at Louisiana Tech
(15) Virginia: off
(16) Baylor: won, 4-1, at Dallas Baptist
(17) Stanford: off
(18) Mississippi: off
(19) St. John's: off
(20) Coastal Carolina: postponed vs. UNC Wilmington
(21) Florida Gulf Coast: won, 5-2, vs. (2) Florida State
(22) Texas A&M: off
(23) Oklahoma State: won, 13-0, vs. New Mexico
(24) Michigan: off
(25) Washington: off

The Eagles fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first Wednesday, but responded for three runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead for good. Four of their first five batters reached base against Seminoles starter Ed Voyles, quickly knocking him out of the game. Left fielder Eli Lovell (1-for-2, 2 RBIs) delivered a two-run double and scored on a wild pitch, accounting for all the offense FGCU would need.

Four FGCU pitchers combined for eight scoreless innings to finish the game, including five innings in relief. The Eagles have now won three straight games against the Seminoles.

Florida State (13-5) has lost back-to-back games for the first time this season following a 1-0 defeat at No. 5 Florida on Tuesday. The Seminoles have struggled offensively this week, collecting just five hits in both games. Florida State did draw nine walks Wednesday, but it stranded 15 runners.

In the day's other Top 25 matchup, No. 7 Cal State Fullerton defeated No. 12 Arizona, 4-0. The Titans (11-5) have won four straight games and seven of nine this month.

Fullerton's Dillon Brown, Maxwell Gibbs, Blake Workman and Brett Conine combined for a three-hit shutout against Arizona (13-3). Catcher Chris Hudgins (2-for-2, 2 R) and right fielder Hunter Cullen (2-for-3, 2 RBIs), the eighth and ninth hitters in Titans' lineup, led the offense.

Elsewhere, No. 1 Louisville defeated Xavier, 13-4, to improve to 16-0 this season. The Cardinals are one win shy of matching their 1957 team, which went a perfect 17-0 on the season. Junior shortstop Devin Hairston went 4-for-4 with three runs and three RBIs to lead Louisville.

In Louisiana, both No. 6 Louisiana State and No. 14 Louisiana-Lafayette lost long extra-innings games against in-state opponents. New Orleans defeated LSU, 7-4, in 15 innings, giving the Privateers (10-7) a sweep of the season series against the Tigers (13-5). First baseman Dakota Dean (3-for-7, 2 R), the younger brother of UNO head coach Blake Dean, doubled to lead off the 15th inning and came around to score the go-ahead run.

Louisiana Tech defeated Louisiana, 6-5, in 13 innings. The Bulldogs (15-2) scored a run in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at five, and Chase Lunceford (3-for-6) won it with a walk-off single in the 13th. The victory came in front of a crowd of 3,311, the largest in program history.

Comments