KENNESAW, Ga. - No. 24 FGCU dropped the first of three weekend baseball games at Kennesaw State, 6-1, on an Atlantic Sun Conference road trip.
Sitting in a share of third place in the league standings entering the weekend, the Eagles dipped to 18-8 overall and 4-3 in the conference. Meanwhile, the Owls, who sat atop the league standings alongside Mercer, improved to 18-13 (7-3 A-Sun).
KSU got on the board early, plating one in the bottom of the first. Following a single and a sacrifice bunt, a single through the left side by redshirt senior Peyton Hart allowed senior Andy Almonte to cross the plate, after advancing to third on a groundout in the prior at-bat.
It wasn't until the top of the seventh inning that the Eagles were able to level the game at 1-1. Redshirt senior Brooks Beisner opened the inning with a double down the left field line and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt from freshman Nick Rivera. Sophomore Michael Suchy made good on the scoring opportunity, connecting for a single to the shortstop to bring Beisner in from third.
The level score only held until the home half of the inning, when the Owls found a runner on third following a walk, a sacrifice bunt down the third base line and a balk. Freshman Kal Simmons was able to bring in the go-ahead run on a RBI single into left field to give KSU the 2-1 edge.
In what proved to be the last scoring threat in the contest for the Green and Blue, the bases were loaded with two outs in the top of the eighth. Senior Mike Reeves opened the inning with a single to right field and was followed by a walk to junior Sean Dwyer. Rivera later walked in the frame with two away, but a strikeout in the next at-bat quieted the FGCU scoring chance.
The Owls added four more runs in their side of the eighth to take a 6-1 advantage before retiring the Eagles in order in the top half of the ninth.
Hit with his first loss on the year, junior right-hander Ricky Knapp (6-1) went seven innings, allowing two runs on eight hits and a pair of walks. It marks the first loss in the last 13 starts for the Port Charlotte product, who has collected 10 wins in those outings.
The teams play again at 2 p.m. Saturday afternoon beginning at 2 p.m. with freshman Michael Murray on the hill for the Eagles.