Feb. 17, 2012
TUSCALOOSA, AL - The Florida Atlantic Owls achieved a couple of milestones with their season-opening win 5-2 over the University of Alabama on Friday night.
Not only did the victory give John McCormack his 100th career win as the Owls' head coach, it also extended the team's winning streak at Sewell-Thomas Stadium to two games.
The last time that FAU played in Tuscaloosa, they upended the Crimson Tide on their home field in the 2002 NCAA Regionals, 6-5, to advance to the school's only Super Regional. On Friday, senior right-hander Ryan Garton made sure there wasn't as much drama, shutting down the Alabama offense to the tune of three hits and one run over his six-plus innings of work and striking out seven Tide batters in the process.
They broke the game open with two outs in the 6th inning. With runners at second and third, a Geoff Jimenez batted ball to shortstop caused a wild throw, allowing both Alex Hudak and Newton to score. The next batter, Mike Spano, rapped a ball off the base of the right field wall, scoring Jimenez, and Spano himself ended up coming around on another hit by Albaladejo. The lead was 5-0 in favor of the Owls.
Though Alabama scored two runs after Garton exited in the seventh, the FAU bullpen was otherwise lights out. Ahmed Garcia, Josh Gonzaga, R.J. Alvarez and Michael Sylvestri (who picked up his first FAU save) combined to allow only two hits and each had a strikeout, in three innings of work. In total, Owls' pitching struck out 11 Crimson Tide hitters.
The team is right back at it at 11:05 EST on Saturday morning, a game moved up from the original 4:05 scheduled first pitch due to the threat of rain. Sunday's finale is still scheduled for 1:05 EST.