April 9, 2011
Mobile, Ala. - Combining strong pitching with timely hitting and good defense, the Florida Atlantic University baseball team picked up its first victory outside Boca Raton with a 7-3 victory over the University of South Alabama on Saturday afternoon at Stanky Field in Mobile, Ala. The victory ended a five-game losing streak and evened the weekend series at a game apiece.
FAU improves to 18-13 on the season and gets above the .500 mark at 6-5 in Sun Belt Conference action. Meanwhile, the host Jaguars fall to 15-15 overall and 5-6 in league play. The two teams will square off on Sunday, starting at 2 p.m., for the deciding game in the series.
Junior right hander Paul Davis returned to his dominating form on the mound for the Owls, scattering eight hits, allowing two earned runs and recording five strikeouts in seven quality innings. Another junior, left handed reliever Josh Gonzaga, pitched two scoreless innings and tallied his second save of the season.
The offense finally put things together, scoring runs in five of the nine innings. Junior outfielder Alex Hudak was once again the hitting star, collecting two hits to raise his batting average to .436 in conference games. Sophomore centerfielder Nathan Pittman responded with a two-hit day and scored two runs. Overall, seven of the nine starters contributed at least one hit in the team's nine-hit attack.
The Owls grabbed the early lead in the top of the second inning as a RBI single by senior shortstop Nick DelGuidice brought home Hudak, who led off the frame with a double off the left field wall. The lead would increase to 3-0 in the fourth inning as the visitors took advantage of a defensive error - one of five made by the Jaguars that contributed to five unearned runs on the day. A throwing error on a ground ball by sophomore first baseman Mark Nelson allowed senior second baseman Raymond Church and junior designated hitter Mike Spano to score with two outs in the inning.
After South Alabama cut the deficit to 3-2 in the sixth inning, the Owls responded with two runs in the top of the seventh inning. A dropped ball on Pittman's fly ball opened the gap for pinch runner Joey Burkhalter to score all the way from first base. Pittman would later score after a ground ball from senior outfielder Andy Mee was also misplayed. The error stretched FAU's advantage to 5-2.
Florida Atlantic added a run in the eighth and ninth innings to cap the scoring in the victory, which broke a winless four-game road losing streak in Sun Belt Conference games.
For the second straight game FAU out-hit South Alabama, this time by a 9-to-8 advantage. Hudak had his third straight multiple-hit effort, while Church extended his current hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the fifth inning. He also scored two valuable runs. DelGuidice, Mee, Nelson and Spano each had one hit on the afternoon.
USA starting pitcher Dustin Crenshaw suffered his first loss on the season after allowing five runs in seven innings. He dropped to 5-1 on the season and had two strikeouts.
The Jaguars' Nolan Earley slapped two singles and Logan Kirkland added two hits. South Alabama's Taylor White rounded out the team's multiple-hit performers, while scoring a run and having one RBI.
A broadcast and details of Sunday's game can be found at www.fausports.com. Season and individual tickets of Florida Atlantic baseball are available by calling the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.