FGCU rallies in ninth to defeat Bisons on walk-off
Friday, May 20, 2011
Andrew Valencia’s pinch-hit two-run walk-off double capped a four-run ninth inning comeback as Florida Gulf Coast rallied from three runs down in the final inning to knock-off Lipscomb, 5-4 at Swanson Stadium on Friday.

The Bisons led 4-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth inning before the Eagles recorded four straight hits, including two for extra-bases to earn to the comeback win over the Bisons, who fell to 5-9 in one-run games this year. Lipscomb was 15-1 when leading after the eighth inning coming into today.

Lipscomb starter, Blake Fonfara had the Eagles on their heels through the first eight innings, allowing just one run while fanning eight in what was his best outing of the season before running out of gas in the ninth.

Fonfara threw a season high 127-pitches in eight-plus innings before being relieved by Mike Grace after the first three batters in the bottom of the ninth reached base.

Grace entered the game with the Bisons holding onto 4-2 lead with runners on second and third and nobody out.

With runners on second and third, FGCU’s senior shortstop Stephen Wickens singled through the right-side to trim the Bisons lead down to one at 4-3. Then with runners on first and third and nobody out, the Bisons were forced to play in with the tying run at third base before freshman pinch-hitter Andrew Valencia doubled to the left-center gap to clear the bases and earn the walk-off win for the Eagles.

The Bisons (19-35, 10-19 A-Sun) jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning as Josh Chism drove in M.L. Williams, who singled to lead-off the game, with a one-out RBI-single.

Lipscomb added another run in the top of the third as Richie Goodenow drove in his first of three runs on the day with an opposite field RBI-single scoring Ricky Coleman.

After the Eagles (26-28, 15-14 A-Sun) got on the board in the bottom of the third, Lipscomb extended its lead in the top of the fourth with two more runs.

The Bisons took advantage of three free passes as Aaron Spragg, Williams and Coleman drew two-out walks before Goodenow came up big with a two-out, two-RBI single through the right side to give the Bisons a 4-1 lead.

Lipscomb had chances to break the game open in the top of the seventh as they had runners on second and third with one out but the Bisons stranded the runners to end the inning.

Offensively, all nine hitters in the Bisons lineup recorded at least one hit as Lipscomb outhit FGCU 14-7. Goodenow drove in three of team’s four runs on Friday, finishing 3-for-5 to extend his streak of reaching base to 23 straight games.

Fonfara allowed four runs on five hits with three walks and eight strikeouts in the eight-plus inning no-decision.

Lipscomb and FGCU will conclude the 2011 regular season tomorrow with the series finale between the Eagles and Bisons starting at 12 p.m. Central from Swanson Stadium in Ft. Myers, Fla.

FGCU will send right-hander Jack Wagoner to the mound tomorrow while Lipscomb’s starter is to be determined.

Fans can follow Live Stats and watch the final two games of the 2011 regular season on A-Sun TV.