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FGCU misses star slugger suspended after DUI arrest – The News

After his team fell behind 3-0 in the first inning and left 11 runners on base in a 6-3 loss to Illinois on Friday night in the first game of a three-game series, FGCU baseball coach Dave Tollett held his head low in search of answers.

“Same story as last week,” Tollett said of FGCU’s four-game, season-opening split with Central Michigan. “We’re going to shake it up tomorrow and see if we can get some … We were beaten tonight. They were better in every area.”

Tollett was less inclined to discuss the hole in his lineup.

Senior third baseman Tim Roberson, an All-Atlantic Sun Conference performer who hit .332 with team-highs in home runs (13) and RBI (63) last year, has been suspended for FGCU’s first six games after an on-campus drunken driving arrest on Feb. 11.

“I don’t think we … it is what it is,” Tollett said of whether the team missed Roberson’s bat. “We’re going to follow FGCU policy.”

Roberson faced a minimum suspension of 10 percent of the season schedule under university policy, said athletic director Ken Kavanagh. After meeting with Roberson, Tollett and Kavanagh opted not to go beyond the minimum suspension of six games.

Roberson, 21, will be required to attend counseling and perform community service, Kavanagh said.

“Had we felt there were other issues, we could have conceivably dismissed somebody from the program,” Kavanagh said. “We felt based on his previous record as a student-athlete, the 10 percent is sufficient.”

Roberson, who is allowed to practice with the team and who injured his hand while being struck by a bat on a pitchout, will be eligible to return to the lineup for Sunday’s third game. But Tollett wouldn’t say whether the team’s No. 3 hitter would play.

“I don’t know. I’m worried about Saturday,” said Tollett, who would not permit Roberson to speak with the media. “Again, out of sight, out of mind with me. Coach the kids we have. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

FGCU (2-3), the three-time defending A-Sun regular-season champions, was 6-for-13 with six walks, two runs and three RBI in the top four spots of the lineup Friday. Preseason all-A-Sun selection Mikel Alvarez had three hits to give him 250 in his career.

But positions 5-9 were 2-for-19, with No. 5 hitter Javi Sujo going 0-for-5 and stranding six runners, including three in the bottom of the ninth.

Senior right-hander Jack Wagoner also struggled. FGCU’s closer last year gave up five runs and eight hits after being moved to the No. 1 spot in the rotation.

“There’s never been excuses here, and we won’t start making any,” Tollett said of new players in new places. “We were beat tonight.”

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