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Baseball Captures Home Opening Series Win Over Bethune-Cookman

Jessica Piland/FGCU Athletics
Harrison Povey

In their first home series of the 2024 season, the FGCU baseball team opened up a three game series against Bethune-Cookman University from Feb. 23-25. The Eagles opened up the series with two great performances in the first two games to claim their wins and first series win of the season before dropping the final game of the series as FGCU’s record now sits at 2-5.

To start the season, the Eagles were on the road facing off against nationally ranked TCU. In all three games of the opening series, the Eagles led the Horned Frogs at one point but ended up losing each game late. Then, the Eagles played a neutral site game in North Port against Indiana State. The Sycamores shutdown the Eagles en route to a 5-2 win, sending the Eagles’ record to 0-4. Bethune-Cookman started the year 3-1 with two wins over Stonehill and a win over FIU.

Game one of this series was hotly contested. FGCU got on the board early with a run in the bottom of the first inning as redshirt junior third baseman Jacob Lojewski singled to center field to bring home senior first baseman Robert Moya as the Eagles took an early 1-0 lead. The Wildcats responded in the top of the second inning with a run of their own off of a single to tie the game at 1-1.

Bethune-Cookman scored another run off of a single in the top of the fourth inning to give the Wildcats a 2-1 lead. But an RBI double by junior left fielder Dalton Robinson into the corner of right field brought home junior center fielder Harrison Povey to the game up again at 2-2 in the bottom of the fourth inning.

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A sacrifice fly from senior right fielder Ian Farrow scored senior catcher Mac Moise in the bottom of the fifth inning as the Eagles retook the lead 3-2. However, the Wildcats responded in the top of the seventh inning with a sacrifice fly of their own to tie the game again at 3-3.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, FGCU struck again as Povey hit an RBI single up the middle that scored Farrow and allowed FGCU to take another lead at 4-3.

The Wildcats wouldn’t go away quietly though as in the top of the eighth inning, a solo home run to left field tied the game up again at 4-4. But in a back-and-forth game, the Eagles got what they needed as Moya hit an RBI single through the right side of the field which scored freshman second baseman Charles Davalan slid into home to put the Eagles out in front once again at 5-4.

Junior right-handed pitcher Lucas Hartman retired the side in the top of the ninth inning to secure the first win of the season for FGCU in a 5-4 thriller. Head coach Dave Tollett spoke after the game about what it meant for the team to get their first win of the season.

“They were excited. For some of them, it’s their first win here,” Tollett said. “We’re a new club, got two full time returning starters and that’s it. So the tradition and things we do are all new so they got to experience that.”

Game two was an offensive explosion by FGCU. This offensive onslaught began in the bottom of the first inning as Povey had an RBI single that scored Farrow. Then, redshirt junior Jake McKee earned an RBI single of his own that scored Povey as the Eagles took an early 2-0 lead.

Moise then added to the scoring with an RBI double to start the bottom of the second inning that brought home redshirt junior shortstop Trevor Kole. Another run came across home plate after Moya doubled to right center field to score Moise. At the end of the second inning, FGCU was already ahead 4-0.

Like in game one, Bethune-Cookman responded with runs of their own in the top of the third inning behind an RBI double and a sacrifice fly. It was now just a 4-2 lead for FGCU.

The Eagles didn’t let it stay that way for long. In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Eagles had the bases loaded and the Wildcats ended up walking Povey which led to another run for the Eagles as Davalan crossed home plate to make the score 5-2.

With the bases still loaded, Lojewski came up to bat as the Eagles looked to add on more runs in the inning. Lojewski capitalized on the opportunity with a grand slam to left field, blowing the game open in the process as the score was now 9-2 in favor of FGCU.

One more run came across for each team in the seventh inning due to walks with the bases loaded, but no more damage was done by either teams’ offenses. The Eagles came away with a massive 10-3 victory behind Lojewski’s grand slam for back-to-back wins over the Wildcats. Lojewski went 4-for-5 on the day with four RBIs in the process. Tollett had this to say about Lojewski after his big day.

“He’s just a great player,” Tollett said. “He identifies in what I picture a FGCU baseball player looks like.”

Game three wasn’t the result or performance that FGCU was looking for as despite racking up seven hits, the Eagles were only able to score once. The game was scoreless through five innings as each starting pitcher performed well on the mound. For FGCU, sophomore left-handed pitcher Chase Kriebel pitched through five scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and a walk while recording five strikeouts.

Bethune-Cookman broke through with a run in the top of the sixth inning to take a 1-0 lead. The Wildcats then were able to add three more runs in the top of the eighth inning as the lead was now 4-0.

FGCU’s best scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the eighth inning. After Farrow hit an RBI double that brought home Davalan, the Eagles were on the board and the lead was only 4-1. Then, the bases were loaded with only one out and the chance to tie the game up seemed possible.

Two consecutive outs ended that opportunity pretty quickly as the Eagles were only able to come away with that one run earlier in the inning. Another run in the top of the ninth inning from the Wildcats pushed the lead up to 5-1 and the Eagles were unable to produce any runs in the bottom of ninth inning leading to a 5-1 victory for Bethune-Cookman as FGCU dropped the series finale.

Winning two of the three games in this series was important for FGCU though as the Eagles are now 2-5 on the season after their first series win of the year. The Eagles will head on the road to play the Miami Hurricanes later today before returning home for a three game series against Xavier starting on March 1.

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About the Contributor
James Curtis, Eagle News Sports Editor
James Curtis is a senior majoring in journalism and minoring in global studies. He is from Tampa, FL, and has known he wanted to be a journalist since taking a journalism class in seventh grade. He has been involved in sports for his whole life, including swimming competitively all the way through high school. His goal now is to be a sports journalist. When not covering sports games or writing stories, he's usually spending his free time with his friends or watching YouTube.

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