Feb. 22, 2013
Boca Raton, FL - A three-run eighth inning lifted the University of Alabama past Florida Atlantic University 5-2 on Friday in the opener of a three-game weekend series at the FAU Baseball Stadium. The loss snapped a four-game winning streak for the Owls over the Southeastern Conference program.
FAU (3-2) struck first with two unearned runs in the second inning. Junior outfielder Geoff Jimenez scored on a successful safety squeeze play executed by junior infielder Sean Murrell. Two batters later, sophomore shortstop Mitch Morales scored when a wild pitch on a third strike allowed junior catcher Levi Meyer to reach base safely.
However, Alabama (5-0) got a RBI groundout from Georgie Salem in the top of the third inning to cut the deficit in half, 2-1. Then, the Crimson Tide tied the game on a two-out run-scoring single by Austen Smith in the top of the seventh inning.
The visitors took their first lead when Ben Moore singled to right field to plate Salem in the eighth inning. Alabama's first five batters reached safety in the inning. Mikey White scored on Kenny Roberts' RBI single to give the Crimson Tide a 4-2 advantage. Finally, a bases-loaded double play brought in the third run of the frame.
FAU attempted to make a ninth-inning rally, bringing the tying run to the plate. However, Alabama's reliever Jake Hubbard got Jimenez to ground into a game-ending double play to stop the threat.
FAU sophomore pitcher Austin Gomber had his second straight strong starting assignment. The left hander received a no-decision despite striking out five batters and allowing one unearned run in six innings. He scattered two hits and retired 11 of the last 12 batters faced.
Junior outfielder Tyler Rocklein had two hits to pace the host's offensive attack. It marks the second-straight multiple-hit performance for the junior college transfer. Meyer, Morales and Murrell each added one hit.
Alabama's Tucker Hawley improved to 2-0 on the season, tossing two scoreless innings in relief. Salem had three of the team's seven hits on the evening.
The teams are scheduled to resume the series on Saturday, February 23 at 4 p.m. Live audio and statistics are available at www.fausports.com. Season and single-game tickets for all home baseball games are available by contacting the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.