FGCU baseball wins first ever NCAA Tournament game over Michigan
The FGCU baseball team won its first-ever NCAA tournament game with a 10-6 win over the Michigan Wolverines.
Trailing for most of the game, the ASUN player of the year, Nick Rivera, hit two home runs including a three-run home run in the sixth to lead the Eagles.
“(It’s) the biggest win in our school history, no question,” said head coach Dave Tollett. “We were a little tight early on. From early on, we tried to be loose as a coaching staff all week, but we were a little tight on. Probably the biggest win of my coaching career. The committee granted us as a two seed and we wanted to prove that we belong as a two seed.”
ASUN All Conference member, Kutter Crawford, gave up four runs, but only two earned and kept FGCU in the game despite a high pitch count.
After catcher’s interference on the very first batter of the game, Ako Thomas reached and used his speed to score the first run of the game.
Michigan added one more in the top half and led 2-0 before the Eagles came up to bat.
FGCU then responded on one of Jake Smith’s three hits in the game to cut the lead to 3-1.
Rivera brought the Eagles closer with his first of two home runs of the game with a solo home run in the fourth.
The teams traded runs again in the fifth, but Michigan kept adding on every time FGCU scored and led 5-3 heading into the home half of the sixth.
With the first two men of the inning retired, six-straight, two-out hits from the Eagles scored five runs to take an 8-5 lead.
“Our approach is just to hit balls hard,” Rivera said. “We’re just trying to hit balls hard, square it up. We’re not trying to hit home runs. I can promise you I am not trying to hit home runs. I’m just trying to put good swings on it and wherever it goes, it goes, but I’m happy with a quality at bat. “
With Michigan scoring one in the seventh, Kenton Herring finished the game for the Eagles, but not before FGCU added two more in the bottom of the eighth.
With the win, the Eagles move on to the winner’s bracket and will face off against Davidson, Saturday night, at 6:00 p.m. with Michigan playing UNC in the elimination game.