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Eagles let late lead slip away and fall for the first time this season

After starting off the season 4-0, the Eagles dropped their first game of the year after giving up six runs in the final two innings to fall 10-8.

Mario Leon made his second start of the season and allowed four runs in six innings and left with the lead, but the Eagles bullpen was unable to hold on for Leon.

“You win by the sword, you die by the sword,” head coach Dave Tollett said. “We have been rolling the dice. We’re four and one, but we had the game at 6-4 and I thought we should have put the game away. There were a couple of crazy plays that I have not seen in a long time.”

In the first inning, the red-hot Kohl Gilmore hit his third home run of the season on an opposite field home run to give the Eagles a 2-0 lead. FGCU had their first four base runners reach against Micah Kaczor, who was named one of the Collegiate Baseball National Players of the Week, after his six innings in his last start allowing no earned runs and striking out 12.

ETSU responded in the second with a leadoff home run from Cullen Smith adding two more in the inning and take a 3-2 lead. They were able to add another run in the third, but that lead would not last long.

The wind continued to carry to left field as Marc Coffers launched one out to left and Gilmore hit his second home run of the game with another opposite field home run, as FGCU reclaimed a 5-4 lead.

They added another one in the fifth on Gage Morey’s RBI hit and led by two after five. Justin Gill would enter in the seventh after Leon departed. Gill would get go 1.2 innings out of the bullpen and Kenton Herring would enter in the eighth with a runner on the corners and two outs.

Herring would walk his first batter after a close 3-2 pitch went in favor of Jackson Greer. He would then get ahead of the next hitter and would get a ground ball to end the inning, but Christian Profit’s throw to second caught Jake Smith by surprise and wound up hitting him in the head and the Buccaneers would tie the game at six.

They would load the bases in the ninth with nobody out and ETSU would come through with a two-run single from Caleb Longley to take an 8-6 lead and add two more for a four-run ninth inning.

They would load the bases and get two runs across with bases loaded walks, but both pinch-hitter Spencer Levine and Coffers would strike-out and the Buccaneers would hang on for the win.

The Eagles will be back in action on Saturday at 2 p.m. in game two of a three-game series with Josh Dye likely on the mound for FGCU.

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