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No. 9 FGCU baseball earns first conference victory of the year with 4-0 win over Jacksonville

In its first game of Atlantic Sun conference play, the No. 9 FGCU baseball team defeated Jacksonville 4-0 on Friday night at Swanson Stadium.

Both head coaches put out their aces, as Kutter Crawford (5-0) went up against Michael Baumann (1-3). Baumann came into the season projected to be a fifth-round draft pick. Crawford and Baumann each came into the game striking out just a little fewer than 1.5 batters per inning.

Crawford got the upper hand against the projected fifth-round pick, as the junior right hander went 5 2/3 innings, allowing no runs on one hit.

“Kutter (Crawford) was very good tonight,” FGCU head coach Dave Tollett said. “It was the best pitching matchup in the state, maybe the country. We knew it was going to be that kind of game, and we got some big hits. Reardon two RBI single to give us a little breathing room, just a good, solid Friday night win. That’s what ASUN Friday night is about.”

The game was scoreless early on as the Dolphins got two men on base via a walk in the second, but Crawford stranded two with a strike out off of Connor Stephens to end the inning.

The Eagles struck first on a lead-off double by Eli Lovell in the bottom half of the second. With one out, Marc Coffers drove in his seventh RBI to give FGCU a 1-0 lead.

In the fourth, Baumann walked Coffers to lead of the inning. Gage Morey reached on a bunt single and Richie Garcia moved them to second and third for lead-off hitter Matt Reardon. On a 1-0 pitch, Reardon ripped a two run single to put the Eagles up 3-0.

“I was just looking for a pitch up,” said Reardon. “I Just put a good swing on it and I got it and did what I could with it.”

After taking a no-hitter into the sixth, with one out Scott Dubrule singled to left for Jacksonville’s first hit of the night. After walking Stephens, Crawford departed, and Kenton Herring got a ground out to end the sixth.

The Eagles tacked on another run in the seventh after a two out triple to right center by Coffers. Following his triple, Coffers came around to score on a wild pitch to make it 4-0.

Kenton Herring gave up two base runners in the second, but got an inning-ending double play off the bat of Evan Fernandez to end the eighth.

Herring finished off 3 2/3 inning out of the bullpen to pick up the save and keep the Eagles 20 1/3 scoreless stretch going and gave Crawford his fifth win of the season.

“I felt pretty good on the mound,” Crawford said. “My fastball command was pretty good. I was able to flip in some breaking balls, changeups, two-seamers working, so the big thing was just getting ahead and staying ahead. When I fell behind, I walked a few batters. When I got ahead and stayed ahead, I did pretty well.”

The Eagles will now take on the Dolphins in game two of their three-game series on Saturday, April 1 at 2 p.m.

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