Long Ball Powers FGCU Past North Alabama

Long Ball Powers FGCU Past North Alabama

 

FORT MYERS, Fla. – A pair of home runs off the bats of junior Kohl Gilmore and freshman Joe Kinker helped power the FGCU baseball team (28-14, 10-3 ASUN) towards a 6-3 win over North Alabama (11-30, 5-10 ASUN) Friday night at Swanson Stadium.

"It's a Friday night win and we'll take it," head coach Dave Tollett said. "It was not pretty for either team, but a win on Friday night makes me happy. We need to improve across the board before we come back tomorrow. From an offensive standpoint, we came through when we needed to and played some small ball which we haven't done in a while."

Gilmore (Fort Pierce, FL/John Carroll HS/Indian River) put the Eagles up 1-0 in the bottom of the second after his solo shot out to right field. The home run was his third of the season.

The Lions responded with a two-run homer of their own in the next frame via leadoff man Davis Elliott. After a few miscues by the Green and Blue, UNA managed to send another runner home and took a 3-1 lead by the end of the inning.

Senior Jay Hayes (Altamonte Springs, FL/Lyman HS) chipped away at the lead in the next frame with a sac fly that plated senior Marc Coffers and trimmed the Lion advantage down to 3-2.

Things were quiet over the next three innings, as Kinker (Northport, FL/Venice HS) was the only batter from either side to record a hit.

Gilmore got the offense going again with a leadoff double in the bottom of the seventh and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Junior Anthony Gonnella(Riverview, FL/Riverview HS/State College of Florida-Manatee) drew a walk to put runners on the corners. After coming in as a pinch runner for Gilmore, freshman Jalen Townsend (Oviedo, FL/Winter Park HS) scored the tying run on a fielder's choice.

Junior Mason Studstill (Titusville, FL/Rockledge HS/Eastern Florida State) pitched a quality start through seven innings of work. He fanned six and allowed just two earned runs on as many hits. He was relieved by sophomore Nikolas Bitner at the start of the eighth inning, ending his night with a no-decision.

Bitner (Palm Coast, FL/Flagler Palm Coast HS/Indian River) faced three batters and recorded two outs before handing the mound over to junior Hunter McGarry (4-1), who ended the inning with a swinging K.

The Eagles' offense struck in the bottom of the eighth as Kinker hit a three-run homer, scoring senior Eric Gonzalez (Miami, FL/American HS/ASA College) and junior pinch hitter Cameron Krzeminski (Coral Springs, FL/St. Thomas Aquinas HS), who hit for senior Keith Stevens (Miami, FL/Miami Killian HS/Hillsborough CC). Kinker's sixth home run of the year handed the Green and Blue the final 6-3 advantage.

McGarry (Bradenton, FL/Bradenton Christian School/State College of Florida) was awarded the win for keeping the Lions off the board while FGCU took the lead. Coffers (Naples, FL/Barron Collier HS), Gilmore and Kinker led the Green and Blue offense with two hits apiece and combined for five RBIs. Though the Eagles were able to come away with the win, a string of errors almost prevented them from doing so. The six miscues tied for the fourth-most in a single game in FGCU history. 

Up Next
The teams will return to Swanson Stadium on Saturday for a 2 p.m. game and the series will wrap up with a 1 p.m. finale on Sunday.

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