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Eagles start conference homestand against Kennesaw State this weekend

The FGCU baseball team (18-10) prepares to wrap up its 10-game road trip this week with a final game in Tallahassee. Coming off their 8-3 loss to No.1 Florida State University on Tuesday, the Eagles end the away stretch with a game against Florida A&M University (7-9) today.

FGCU will host Atlantic Conference foe Kennesaw State University (13-18) Friday in Swanson Stadium. KSU is currently 2-7 in the A-Sun compared to FGCU’s 5-1 record. The series will be of three games, two of which will be weekend matinees.

The homestand will be short for the Eagles, however, as they will travel to Boca Raton for one game against Florida Atlantic University (15-12). This will be a two-game series, the second of the two to be played back in Fort Myers in Swanson Stadium.

The Eagles are coming off a tough 4-0 loss last week to the University of Miami (17-12), their second of the season. Zack Tillery was on the mound for this one and ended up with his second loss of the season, dropping his record to 1-2. Tillery threw for four innings, giving up eight hits and three earned runs.

The bats struggled all night for the Eagles. They were held to just two hits while letting up 12. Andrew Valencia had the standout night for FGCU hitting in one of his three at bats. FGCU head coach Dave Tollett was less than impressed, stating, “It’s disappointing that the bats didn’t feel like showing up for a big game like this one. We need better against quality opponents if we are going to compete for a league title.”

FGCU took on Stetson (10-18) in a three-game series this past weekend to pick up their sixth series win of the season. The Eagles got off to the right start in game one, claiming an 8-2 victory over the Hatters behind a complete game by their hottest pitcher, Mike Murray. Through nine innings, Murray allowed just two earned runs on seven hits. He added four strikeouts with just one walk.

Colton Bottomley shined in this one, going three-for-five with four RBI and scoring twice himself. Bottomley, batting out of the two spot in this one, hit his second bomb of the year. Mike Suchy also added his second home run of the year and went two-for-five on the day.

Due to weather problems, games two and three of the series were moved to a double-header on Sunday. The Eagles split the two games with Stetson, dropping the first one 18-9. The game began with Stetson scoring six runs in the bottom of the first. The Eagles rallied with eight runs in the next three innings before giving up multiple run innings to the Hatters to seal the game. Nick Deckert worked on the mound for the first 4.1 innings, giving up nine runs, six of which were earned, on nine hits.

Offense clearly wasn’t the issue for the Eagles in game two. Zack Tillery stood out at the plate as he hit in all five of his at bats on the night. Among those five hits were a home run and three RBI. Freshman Sterling Koerner took his first career loss on the mound coming in relief for 1.1 innings and giving up five earned runs.

In game three of the series, Jack English took the mound and tossed 5.1 innings, allowing just one earned run on six hits. FGCU got behind him early, taking a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning, but gave up that lead later in the game.

Entering the ninth in a tie ball game, the Eagles were able to get a run off of a Bottomely single. On top of what ended up being the game-winning hit, Bottomely hit five-for- five on the night adding a single, three doubles, and a home run with two RBIs.

“It was important for us to pick up the big win in the second game after a frustrating game one,” Tollett said. “It’s always big to come away with a series victory in this league. It is great to have Bottomley back in the lineup. He brings a lot for us offensively.”

Tillery took the mound in the eighth and closed the game after the Eagles took their 4-3 lead to give FGCU their fifth conference win. Their series against Kennessaw State this weekend will open up Atlantic Sun Conference play at Swanson Stadium for the Eagles.

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