Welcoming in-state rival Florida State to Fort Myers for the first time in program history, the No. 21 FGCU baseball team earned its third straight win over the Seminoles with a 5-2 victory Wednesday night at JetBlue Park.
The Eagles (15-3) also defeated the No. 1 team in the country for the first time in program history before a crowd of 3,489 on hand to see FGCU continue its best start in Division I program history. The Eagles also completed a 13-game stretch against 2016 NCAA Tournament teams at 11-2.
After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the first, FGCU got both runs back and then some as Eli Lovell followed back-to-back singles by Matt Reardon and Julio Gonzalez to tie the game with a two-run double off the wall in left-center field.
Lovell then scored the go-ahead run on Spencer Levine's steal of second base on which FSU catcher Cal Raleigh's throw sailed into center field.
Junior reliever Kenton Hering (3-1, 4.30) turned in arguably the most important performance of the night. He entered in the top of the seventh with the bases loaded and one out. With FSU (13-5) threatening to tie or take the lead, Hering struck out preseason All-Americans Taylor Walls and Dylan Busby to hold the Seminoles scoreless and preserve the 4-2 lead.
"This one feels great," said FGCU head coach Dave Tollett. "Florida State is one of the best programs in the country year in and year out. It just feels awesome. When we answered in the first, our guys really believed they belonged in this ballgame."
FGCU hosts Big Ten foe Rutgers (6-10) at Swanson Stadium for games Friday, Saturday and Sunday.