April 22, 2018
HOUSTON - A controversial ninth inning spelled the end of the series between No. 25 Florida Atlantic University baseball and Rice Sunday, with travel time necessitating a game stoppage in the ninth for a 6-6 tie. Even with the draw, FAU takes their fourth straight conference series - and second straight against Rice - after winning the first two games in Houston.
"Despite the way the last game ended, I thought it was a good weekend for us," said Head Coach John McCormack. "We had some really good offensive performances, especially Gunnar (Lambert) and Jared DeSantolo today. One thing that we didn't do all weekend is, we didn't make an error. We played flawless baseball in the field. I thought our guys did a good job this weekend."
The Turning Point
FAU (29-9-1, 13-4-1 Conference USA), and more specifically Gunnar Lambert and Jared DeSantolo, pushed out to a 5-1 lead after the top of the seventh. The duo was involved in every run, with DeSantolo scoring Lambert and himself on a two-run home run in the second, Lambert notching a solo shot in the fourth, DeSantolo scoring on an error in the fifth, and DeSantolo singling in Lambert in the seventh.
Rice (16-23-2, 6-10-2 C-USA) scored three in the bottom of the seventh to cut it to 5-4, but FAU got one back in the visiting eighth on an RBI single by Cody Wilson. A Rice home run in the bottom of the eighth tied things at 6-6, setting up the ninth. In the top half, with two outs, David Miranda singled off the wall, and on a 1-0 pitch, Pedro Pages laced one down the leftfield line. It was immediately declared fair, scoring Miranda for an apparent 7-6 FAU lead. The call was questioned by the Rice dugout, and after huddling up,was overturned to a foul ball. Rice was able to get out of the inning, and the bottom half saw a Rice double, and an intentional walk to setup a force out, but then the game reached the predetermined "drop dead" 4:15 time, with the umpires ending things in a tie due to Conference USA Sunday travel rules.
- Lambert and DeSantolo each had two hits. Lambert was 2-for-2 with two walks and scored three times, and DeSantolo was 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBI
- Wilson's eighth inning single was his 13th straight game with a hit; Tyler Frank singled and walked and is up to 35 consecutive games reaching base
- Mark Nowatnick started and allowed only one run, on five hits, in four innings
- In his first ever relief appearance for FAU, Jake Miednik threw two scoreless innings before running into trouble in the seventh
Next on the docket is a Tuesday night matchup against Florida Gulf Coast in West Palm Beach. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. from The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. For tickets, call 1-866-FAU-OWLS or visit www.fausports.com/tickets/baseball-tickets.html.