Feb. 25, 2012
BOCA RATON, FL - The Florida Atlantic Owls suffered their first loss of the young 2012 season, but rebounded in game two of their Saturday doubleheader to split against Manhattan College at the FAU Baseball Stadium.
In game one, Manhattan was up 4-0 after the first inning and 6-0 after the top of the 5th. The Owls were able to scrape two runs in the bottom of that inning, after Mitch Morales led off with a double and was singled in by Mike Albaladejo, who ended up scoring himself on a bases-loaded walk to Mark Nelson.
FAU cut it to 6-3 in the 7th, when Nelson got his second RBI of the game, this time on a sacrifice fly, plating Nathan Pittman. Manhattan pushed it back out to 7-3 in their half of the 8th.
The Owls came storming back, to the tune of a 5-run bottom of the 8th. A Robert Buckley double to left-centerfield started things off. After a Morales single, Albaladejo got another RBI, a sacrifice fly to make it 7-4. An error scored Morales, and an Alex Hudak RBI single got Pittman in to make it 7-6.
Then, for a fleeting moment, the FAU team took the lead on a towering home run off the centerfield Batter's Eye by Kyle Newton, scoring he and Hudak, to make it 8-7.
But, the Jaspers did not lie down, regaining the lead quickly on two runs off Michael Sylvestri in the 9th, and closing it out despite the 13th FAU hit of the game, another single by Buckley, who was stranded in what became a 9-8 loss.
In game two, the Owls took the lead in the 2nd, on Newton's second home run in as many at-bats. Though Manhattan tied it in the 3rd and went ahead with two runs in the 5th, it was another FAU homer, a 2-run shot just fair down the rightfield line by Pittman, that knotted things up again at 3-3.
A 7-run 6th inning by FAU sealed the second game. Eleven batters came to the plate, and though the first five batters reached, only one was by a hit. A bases-loaded walk to Ricky Santiago gave the Owls the lead, and another to the next batter, Albaladejo, made it 5-3. A wild pitch and sacrifice fly scored the next two runs, and Newton plated one more with a single to right-center. Then, on a delayed steal attempt, Newton advanced to second while Hudak stole home, and Nelson wrapped things up with another basehit, singling in Newton for the seventh and final FAU run in the inning, and a 10-3 lead.
If seven runs sealed it in the 6th, another Owls' home run iced things in the home 8th. This time, with Pittman at first, the no-doubter to right was off the bat of Hudak, his third of the season. That matches his total from all of 2011. It made it a 12-3 game, and 1-2-3 innings by true freshmen Julian Loret de Mola and Brett Nizamoff finished things up.
Pregame ceremonies before game one honored both former head coach and one of the newest members of the FAU Hall of Fame, Kevin Cooney, whose number was retired, as well as current head coach John McCormack for picking up his 100th career win against Alabama in the season's opening series.
The 4-1 Owls and Manhattan (1-2) meet up Sunday at noon for the fourth time in three days. Freshman left-hander Austin Gomber will make his FAU debut as the team's starting pitcher.
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