UE sent out junior left hander pitcher Alex Weigand to the hill to start, who was coming off his best start of the season against Western Illinois. However, the momentum didn’t carry over, as he fell into a deep hole early. The Eagles opened the bottom of the first with a single and a throwing error, putting two on with no outs. Two batters later, Richie Garcia lifted a double to left-center, driving in a pair. Later in the opening frame, Jay Hayes launched a sacrifice fly to right, putting FGCU up 3-0 at the end of one.
“We didn’t come out ready to play”, said University of Evansville baseball head coach Wes Carroll. “Our starter on the mound gave up a two strike hit, muffs a bunt, gets crossed up and gave away too many freebies at the start of the game. Defensively, we didn’t play good enough behind him.”
After getting out of the second inning unscathed, Weigand would get in trouble again, as a double, a hit batter and a walk loaded up the bases with no one out, ending Weigand’s day. Sophomore reliever Adam Lukas would come in and put out the fire with minimal damage, allowing a single tally on a double play.Weigand’s line on the day was four runs, three earned on three hits, getting one strike out and one walk in two innings of work. Lukas and senior set-up man Ryan Brady and reliever Jimmy Ward would combine to keep Florida Gulf Coast off the scoreboard the rest of the way.
The Aces bats were held silent through the first six innings, as Eagles junior southpaw Josh Dye held them scoreless on just three hits. Dye would pile up a career-high nine strikeouts across the first six frames.
“Our bats, against a really good pitcher in Dye”, said Carroll. “He did a really good job keeping us off balanced through six innings.”
However, UE would finally catch up to Dye in the seventh. Matt Jones got the ball rolling for the Aces with an RBI single to center, driving in senior outfielder Dalton Horstmeier. Cooper Trinkle would follow that up with a single to left, putting two aboard for sophomore outfielder Kenton Crews. Crews would proceed to groove an RBI single, cutting the Florida Gulf Coast lead to 4-2.
“In winning time, what we got out of our bullpen in Lukas and Brady, giving us a chance, where we showed some life”, said Carroll. “We got a couple of runs back.”
That would be as close as the Aces would get, as they dropped to 5-7 on the season. The Eagles are now 12-2.
“Against a good opponent, we’re just not ready to play”, said Carroll. “We still haven’t played a solid nine innings of baseball, from pitching to defense to timely hitting. I feel like we haven;t done that against a good opponent. Here we are, playing a Florida Gulf Coast team, a (Missouri) Valley type of team, a team we’re going to have to face in the next couple of weeks. We did not absorb any pressure and reapply it. How poorly we played, we still had an opportunity to win this game, and that’s something we’re going to continue to work on.”
Evansville would look to avoid the sweep Sunday morning, when they send sophomore starting pitcher David Ellis out to face FGCU. First pitch from Fort Myers has been moved up to 9:30 a.m. Central Time.Evansville 2, Florida Gulf Coast 4