May 19, 2011
Miami, Fla. - The Florida Atlantic University baseball team's four-run ninth inning rally fell short as it dropped the series opener 9-7 to FIU on Thursday night at the FIU Baseball Stadium in Miami. The Owls sent the potential go-ahead run to the plate with one out before hitting into a game-ending double play.
FAU falls to 31-21 on the season and 16-12 in Sun Belt Conference action. The host Golden Panthers improve to 36-16-1 overall and 19-8-1 in league play. The two teams will resume the series on Friday, May 20, beginning at 6 p.m.
The Owls got four consecutive hits with one out in the ninth inning when trailing 9-3. Junior outfielder Alex Hudak lined a RBI single to left-center field to score senior second baseman Raymond Church. Senior shortstop Nick DelGuidice followed with a single through the right side to load the bases. Sophomore designated hitter Mark Nelson drove in two runs with a double to plate freshman pinch-runner Robert Buckley and Hudak to cut the deficit to 9-6. Senior third baseman Sean Bukovich brought home DelGuidice on a base hit to left field. Bukovich served as the tying run, but the threat was halted on the double play.
Trailing 3-0, senior first baseman Dan Scheffler connected on his team-leading fifth home run to lead off the second inning. FIU would answer with two runs in the second inning to build a 5-1 cushion before the Owls chipped away.
In the fourth inning, Mee drove in Bukovich with a single while DelGuidice hit a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Church in the fifth inning. Those two scores decreased the deficit to 5-3.
FIU answered with four runs in the fifth inning to seize momentum of the game. The Golden Panthers sent nine batters to the plate and scored all four runs with two outs in the frame.
FIU starting pitcher Phil Haig threw seven productive innings to improve to 9-3 on the season. The left hander scattered nine hits and struck out seven batters.
Hudak paced the offensive attack going 3-for-5 with a run scored. Senior outfielder Colby Gratton, junior catcher Mike Albaladejo joined Bukovich and Church having multiple hit efforts.
FAU starting pitcher Ryan Garton suffered the loss, allowing five runs in three inning. The junior right hander fell to 5-4 on the season.
FIU was paced by Rudy Flores and Mike Martinez who each drove in three runs. Pablo Bermudez scored three runs and Jeremy Patton added two hits with three runs scored to round out the FIU offensive attack.
The Owls out-hit the Golden Panthers 15-14 margin in the loss. Saturday's finale will be featured on the Sun Belt Network on Comcast (CSS), starting at 7 p.m. This is the second time that the Owls have been featured in the league's game of the week.
Broadcast details of Friday's game can be found at www.fausports.com.