LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. (May 07, 2023) – Florida National University’s baseball team saw its season come to a close at the Continental Athletic Conference’s (CAC) Championship Tournament. A loss in their previous outing versus the Fisher College Falcons set up a must-win contest against the Iowa Wesleyan Tigers.
The Tigers battled their way to a 9-5 win over the Conquistadors, tallying 17 hits en route to its first win of the tournament. FNU started strong with an RBI double from Gino Bellantoni that advanced Erick Rodriguez to home for the 1-0 advantage in the first. Pitcher Mario Benjamin commanded the mound for four innings, issuing one walk and three strikeouts.
The Tigers were able to retire the Conquistadors with a couple of strikeouts and got to work on the offensive end. IWU tied together a four-run, four-hit inning, highlighted by a pair of RBI doubles from David Amaya and Riley Rankin.
Suddenly facing a 4-1 deficit, an RBI single from Jeremy De La Cruz at the top of the third alleviated some pressure before the Tigers’ Froymer Ortega made his way to home at the bottom of the frame to make it a 5-2 ball game.
Dramatically, FNU’s Matthew Gonzalez bombed a much-needed two-RBI homer to left field to make it a one-score affair. But FNU’s fielding troubles reared its ugly head, as the Tigers scored two runs on a throwing error from third baseman Gonzalez. Carlos Vicente added another run with a double to left field that bought just enough time for Philip Guerrero to touch home before ending the inning.
An RBI double from Ortega in the sixth made it a 9-3 contest. Rodriguez connected on a single to left field, advancing catcher De La Cruz in the eighth for FNU’s final score of the season.
Three quick outs at the top of the ninth, including two strikeouts on Gonzalez and Bellantoni signaled a bitter-sweet end to an incredible and record-breaking FNU season. The Conquistadors racked up 14 hits and four errors, while the Tigers recorded one error.