March 20, 2012
Boca Raton, FL - The red-hot Florida Atlantic University baseball team looks to continue its winning ways in a non-conference game against nationally ranked University of Miami on Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the FAU Baseball Stadium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus. The Owls will look to even the three-game season series against the Hurricanes.
FAU is coming off a three-game sweep over another Miami area-based team, FIU, last weekend to begin Sun Belt Conference action. The team outscored their South Florida rival 23-9 and did not commit one error throughout the three-game series.
The Owls have won their last four games and now stand 14-7 on the season. Miami picked up a 10-5 win over FAU in Coral Gables on February 29. The two teams are scheduled to close out the season series on Tuesday, April 24. FAU defeated the Hurricanes last year in Boca Raton and won the season series for the first time 1984.
Junior first baseman Mark Nelson led the Owls' offense last week, hitting three home runs and driving home 11 runs during the victorious FIU series. The Orlando native was named the Sun Belt Conference's Player of the Week on March 19. Nelson hit two home runs as part of a career-high six-RBI night in a 9-5 win on March 17. He followed with a three-run home run and four RBIs to complete the sweep on March 18. Nelson is hitting .300 on the season with five doubles.
Sophomore outfielder Geoff Jimenez and senior infielder Mike Albaladejo give the team a potent 1-2 combination at the top of the batting order. Jimenez had three hits in the March 18 victory over FIU and has legged out a team-high seven doubles this spring. Meanwhile, Albaladejo leads the team with 31 hits and 19 runs scored, and is among FAU's leading hitters with a .369 average.
Junior third baseman Kyle Newton leads the team with 20 runs batted in while posting a solid .333 batting average. Junior catcher Mike Spano ranks third on the team with a .345 average and has scored 10 runs. Freshman shortstop Mitch Morales had five hits and scored four runs in the FIU series.
In the pitching department, senior starting pitcher Ryan Garton tossed seven scoreless innings in the series-opening 5-1 win over FIU. The right hander scattered four hits and improved to 4-1 on the season. He lowered his earned run average to 1.93 on the season. Garton has tossed seven innings in three of his five starting assignments.
Sophomore right hander Kevin Alexander stands 2-0 with a 2.22 ERA. Junior reliever R.J. Alvarez recorded his first save of the season on March 16 and has made a team-high 11 appearances. Alvarez has compiled a 3-0 record with a 1.02 ERA and 23 strike outs from the bullpen. Freshman Austin Gomber picked up his first collegiate victory with six quality innings on March 18, and senior relief pitcher Ahmed Garcia has made 10 appearances and recorded nine strikeouts in 10.1 innings pitched this season.
Miami enters the game with a 16-4 record and a 5-1 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Hurricanes took two of three games at Duke University from March 14-16 after earning a three-game sweep of Boston College on March 9-11 to begin conference action. Miami is ranked ninth in this week's Collegiate Baseball Newspaper national poll. Catcher Peter O'Brien leads the offense with a .389 batting average, seven home runs 25 RBIs and eight doubles. Third baseman Brad Feiger is hitting at .333 a clip and has scored 14 runs. Miami's pitching staff has compiled a 3.38 earned run average on the season.
Live audio and statistics of Wednesday's game can be found at www.fausports.com. For season tickets contact the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.