JU (22-24, 11-10), which has dropped its last four games, fell behind 6-2 through seven but cut the margin to 6-4 after eight before FGCU (32-16, 20-4) sealed the game with four in the ninth.
“We faced the top pitcher we have seen all year,” said JU head coach Terry Alexander. “All we can do is tip our cap and realize that they don’t have two more of him. We need to let it all hang out tomorrow and see what happens.”
Junior Matt Loosen (3-3) was tagged with the loss after allowing six runs on eight hits with four walks and six strikeouts in seven innings.
Chris Sale (9-0) got the win after allowing two runs on six hits with no walks and 14 strikeouts in seven innings. Jack Wagoner notched his ninth save after hurling 1.2 innings of scoreless relief.
No Dolphin recorded more than one hit in the contest but junior shortstop Jamaal Hawkins, junior catcher Alex Swenson and Jimmy Howick each drove in a run for JU.
Austin Gaines led the Eagles by going 4-for-5 with three doubles and three RBI while Stephen Wickens went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI.
The Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the first when Tim Roberson drove in a run with a grounder to short.
FGCU increased the margin to 2-0 in the third when Wickens hit an RBI single to left field.
JU cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the third when Hawkins drove in a run with a grounder to short.
FGCU made it 4-1 in the fourth when Gaines hit a two-run double to left center with two outs.
The Dolphins cut it to 4-2 in the bottom of the fourth when Howick laced an RBI double down the right-field line.
The Eagles increased the margin to 5-2 in the fifth when Josh Chester hit a sacrifice fly to right field.
FGCU made it 6-2 in the seventh when Chester hit another sacrifice fly to right field.
JU cut the deficit to 6-4 in the bottom of the eighth when Hawkins scored from third on a wild pitch and Swenson hit a sacrifice fly to right.
The Eagles would add four more runs on four hits in the ninth to put the game out of reach.
JU and FGCU will end its series at John Sessions Stadium with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. The both games can be heard live on 1010XL or viewed on ASun.TV and live stats by logging onto JUDolphins.com.