Feb. 14, 2004
Matt O'Brien pitched a career game for no. 19 Florida Atlantic University (6-0) as he struck out 10 Southern Illinois University batters in seven innings. Bobby DeMichael and Mark Culp combined with O'Brien to throw the team's first shutout of the season as FAU defeated SIU 7-0.
O'Brien (2-0), a senior from Wellington, FL only allowed three hits as he set new career highs with seven innings pitched and 10 strikeouts. The right-handed pitcher only faced two over the minimum through the first six innings before giving up two hits in the seventh inning to SIU's Greg Andrews and Grant Gerrard. The only other Saluki hit came in the second inning when Nathan Emrick singled through the left side.
"O'Brien threw the kind of game we knew he was capable of having," said head coach Kevin Cooney. "It was nice to see him have such a great outing and use all of his pitches."
Errors continued to plague Southern Illinois University (0-2) as only one of the seven FAU runs was earned. The first run of the game came in the second inning when FAU center fielder Tim Mascia (Wellington, FL) hit his team leading third home run to right field. The left-handed Mascia was used sparingly last season against left-handed pitchers but has shown great promise at the plate as he now leads the team with a .526 batting average.
Mascia's run would be the only earned run that the Saluki pitching staff would allow. Starting pitcher Bryan Rueger (0-1) gave up the run and eventually worked three innings, struck out one and allowed five hits.
The three-game series will conclude on Sunday at FAU Stadium at noon as Florida Atlantic tries to sweep its second series of the year.
***The flag was flown at half-staff at FAU stadium during the game in honor of long-time FAU fan and friend, Chuck Ritchie. Mr. Ritchie donated the flagpole and flag to the baseball program and passed away on Friday.