May 21, 2015
HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Florida Atlantic University baseball team became the first high-seeded team to win a game on the first day of the 2015 Conference USA tournament with a 6-4 victory over seventh-seeded Old Dominion Wednesday night.
The victory marked the first postseason victory for the Owls (39-15, 19-10 C-USA) as a member of C-USA.
"It feels good, especially in a tournament like this," FAU Head Coach John McCormack said. "You want to get off to a good start. You don't want to get in that loser's bracket. Our guys played well and came away with a win."
Junior Brandon Rhodes dealt five innings of work, allowing three runs on six hits with two strikeouts en route to the victory. Bo Logan and Seth McGarry each pitched shutout innings in relief as McGarry earned his fourth save of the season.
Sophomore Stephen Kerr led off the game for the Owls with a double to center and came around to score on a sacrifice fly by Brendon Sanger to put FAU up 1-0 in the first.
The Owls extended the lead to 5-0 in the third when seven consecutive batters reached safely. With the bases loaded, following Sanger's 50th walk of the season, Ricky Santiago belted a double to center to drive in a pair of runs. Junior Roman Collins followed with a double of his own to plate Sanger and Santiago, tallying his team-high 52nd RBI.
ODU (27-28) struck back in the top of the fifth, tallying three runs on four consecutive two-out hits. A solo home run by ODU's Connor Myers in the sixth cut the FAU advantage to one run at 5-4.
Sanger doubled to center in the bottom of the seventh before coming in to score on back-to-back wild pitches to give the Owls an insurance run.
The Monarchs brought the tying run to the plate after a lead-off walk in the ninth before McGarry retired the next three batters to advance FAU into the winner's bracket.
The Owls will square off against the winner of the Southern Miss/UAB contest Thursday at 7:30 p.m. CT. Free audio is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D-B8BWxWbTw with FAU's Brandon Goodwin calling the action.