FGCU stuns #2 Florida State University
Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, April 10, 2012 23:04
The FGCU baseball team may have been an enormous underdog going into Tallahassee to face the nation’s second ranked team – the Florida State Seminoles on Wednesday, April 4, but with a 5-1 victory they left the state capital with only the second win against a ranked opponent in the program’s history.
Following the win that shocked the college baseball world, FGCU coach Dave Tollett wasn’t afraid to classify the upset as the most significant win that the Eagles’ entire athletics program has ever pulled off.
“It’s the biggest win in school history,” Tollett said. “No one on any level or anyone on our sports programs has beaten a team ranked that high – the No. 2 team in the country. It’s a good win for a bunch of young kids. It’s a feather in our cap, and hopefully it’s something we can build off of. It’s a tough schedule. We play the toughest schedule around. So we’ve just got to keep playing.”
What was expected to be a two-game series between the ACC powerhouse, FSU, and FGCU of the mid-major Atlantic Sun Conference was cut in half due to a rainout on Tuesday, April 3.
Once the Eagles picked up their bats the next day in the top of the first inning they made it loud and clear that they were there to play, not to fold over to one of the big boys. First baseman Sean Dwyer’s two out double to left center drove in the game’s first run, and a single up the middle by Brandon Bednar drove him in to give FGCU an early 2-0 lead.
Neither team was able to push across another run until the Seminoles scored their first in the sixth. The Eagles, however, responded immediately with three runs in the top of the seventh, suddenly giving them a four run lead late in the ball game at 5-1.
A Zach Tillery one out RBI single, a wild pitch with a runner on third, and a sacrifice fly by Brady Anderson brought about the key runs that allowed FGCU to pull away in the seventh.
Starting pitcher Harrison Cooney picked up his first win of the season for FGCU with just one hit surrendered in four innings of shutout work. R.J. Brown replaced him in the fifth and allowed FSU’s only run in one and two thirds innings.
Brown gave up two hits, but Jack English and Jason Forjet, who combined to finish off the final three and one third innings, did not give up any more; meaning FSU had a total of just three hits on the game.
During a season where offense, defense, and pitching haven’t hit on all cylinders at times, this victory was a complete team effort in all three phases.
“Team, man, team,” Bednar said. “That’s how we won, with everybody doing their thing. That’s what got us the win.”
“We played tough, they had just gotten ranked number two,” shortstop Alex Diaz said. “We knew it was going to be a tough game and we came out, we pitched well, we did everything perfect.”
So did Tollett ever believe that his group of players, which consists of mostly underclassmen, could make such history by taking down one of the country’s superior baseball teams?
“Oh, without question,” Tollett said. “I mean, we went to Florida (University of Florida) and played the No. 1 team and we were in every ball game. We just needed a hit here or there. At Florida State we got a couple of hits, we got a good staff pitching performance and it was a good ride back from Tallahassee, for sure.”
After being swept in a doubleheader back home on Friday, April 6 by Mercer, the Eagles were able to win the final game of the series, 4-1, on Saturday, April 7.
“We’re feeling good,” Diaz said. “We’ve got a couple of mid-week games. Mid-week games are tough, but we’re going to go out the same way we went to FSU. We’re going to go out, do our thing, and hopefully get W’s.”