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Baseball Secures Walk-off Win in Game Three to Avoid Sweep Against Xavier

Jessica Piland/FGCU Athletics

As March began, another home series for the FGCU baseball team awaited. From March 1 through March 3, the Eagles welcomed Xavier University for the team’s second home series of the season. After dropping the first two games despite late rallies by four runs each, 10-6 and 9-5, the Eagles earned a walk-off victory in game three of the series 5-4 as their record now sits at 4-7.

In their only game away from home after winning two of three games against Bethune-Cookman, FGCU came away with a 12-10 victory on the road over Miami in 12 innings on Feb. 28. Xavier started their season 4-4 with wins over Louisville, Lipscomb and Cincinnati while having been swept by Clemson and suffering a loss to Lipscomb.

Games one and two were quite similar from start to finish. In game one, Xavier took an early 2-0 lead through two innings. FGCU responded in the bottom of the third inning with an RBI single from redshirt junior shortstop Jacob Lojewski that brought home both freshman second baseman Charles Davalan and senior catcher Mac Moise to tie the game at 2-2.

However, four runs in the top of the fifth and sixth innings by Xavier gave the Musketeers a 6-2 lead. Junior center fielder Harrison Povey hit a solo home run to center field in the bottom of the sixth inning as the Eagles cut the lead to 6-3 heading into the seventh inning.

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Xavier struck right back in the top of the seventh inning with two RBIS off of a double and single to extend the lead again, this time to an 8-3 lead for the Musketeers. But with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Eagles finally got their offense going. Sophomore outfielder Armani Newton came into the game to pinch hit. Newton delivered with an RBI double to the right field corner that scored Povey.

Junior Dalton Robinson came into the game as the designated hitter as the next batter. Robinson hit an RBI single in his at-bat to score Newton from second. The scoring continued for FGCU off of an error by Xavier as a fly ball was dropped. The bases were then loaded with an intentional walk but the Eagles couldn’t continue their scoring run as the eighth inning ended with the Musketeers up 8-6 heading to the ninth inning.

But a two-run home run to left field by the Musketeers in the top of the ninth extended the lead once again as Xavier extended their lead to 10-6. FGCU had one last chance in the bottom of the ninth inning but with two men on base, the Eagles were unable to capitalize and fell in game one as the Musketeers took the win 10-6.

Game two was more of the same for the Eagles. The Musketeers jumped out to an early 4-0 lead in the first inning behind a three-run home run and an RBI double. From there, the Eagles were stuck behind and playing catch-up.

One run came across the board for FGCU behind a bases loaded walk to bring home Davalan and cut the lead down to 4-1 in the bottom of the third inning. But two consecutive outs ended the scoring opportunity for the Eagles.

Five runs were added on by Xavier in the top of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings as the lead was extended to 9-1. Three RBI singles were hit by FGCU players in the bottom of the seventh inning to cut into the lead a little bit as the score was just 9-4 then in favor of Xavier. Even in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Eagles got another run back behind a solo home run by senior right fielder Ian Farrow. But that was all FGCU could muster up as Xavier held on in similar fashion to game one en route to a 9-5 win over the Eagles for the series win.

Attempting to avoid being swept for the second time this season, the Eagles started out game three hot. After a single by Davalan to open the bottom of the first inning, Farrow hit a two-run home run to left field as the Eagles took their first lead of the whole series at 2-0.

The Musketeers responded with a two-run home run of their own in the top of the second inning to tie the game at 2-2. But the Eagles continued their hot start in the bottom of the second inning with another home run, this time by Newton as FGCU took the lead again at 3-2.

Both offenses quieted down until in the top of the sixth inning when Xavier scored an unearned run to tie the game back up 3-3. With the game still tied heading into the ninth inning, the Musketeers were looking for the series sweep on the road while the Eagles were looking to avoid being swept for the second time so far this season.

Starting the top of the ninth, Xavier was able to add one run to take a 4-3 lead with an RBI single to push FGCU to their last three outs. Davalan came up to bat in the bottom of the ninth inning and with the count at one ball and one strike, he hit a solo home run to right field to tie the game up once again at 4-4.

Now, the Eagles had a chance to win the game. Farrow was walked in the next at-bat. That brought up senior first baseman Robert Moya to the plate with the winning run on base. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Moya hit an RBI double that brought home Farrow to score as the Eagles walked off game three of the series 5-4 and everyone in the FGCU dugout ran onto the field in celebration of the win. Head coach Dave Tollett had this to say about what the walk-off win over Xavier meant for the team.

“We needed this win. These kids have fought all weekend,” Tollett said. “We’ve been down and they fought back. I mean it makes that seven hour bus ride a little bit easier.”

FGCU is now 4-7 on the season with a trip to Florida State up next. Originally supposed to be a two-game series starting on March 5, that contest was canceled due to the weather. The Eagles will still make the trip to Tallahassee for a game against the Seminoles on March 6. The Eagles will be back home for a weekend series against Fairfield starting on March 8.

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About the Contributor
James Curtis
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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