Feb. 26, 2003
Florida Atlantic University recorded the first runs of the season off of Florida International University's pitcher Josh Banks Wednesday night as FAU defeated FIU 13-7. Matt Pali hit a long ball to the batting cages beyond the right field fence to deny FIU of its third shutout over FAU.
After Rob Horst reached on a leadoff single, Matt Pali connected on the first homer of the game to tie the score at two in the bottom of the second. Jeff Fiorentino gave FAU (10-4) its first lead of the year against the Golden Panthers when he hit a solo homer to right field in the third inning.
FIU (12-4) regained the lead in the fourth after a two out walk to James Bacon was followed by two doubles to give Florida International the 4-3 advantage. FAU starting pitcher Chris Pillsbury relinquished four doubles to the FIU hitters. The Golden Panthers looked to shut the door on Florida Atlantic when they added another three runs in the sixth to increase their lead to 7-3 but FAU countered the attack with a huge sixth inning.
Jeff Fiorentino (Hollywood, FL) got things started in the sixth with his second home run of the night to add two of FAU's seven runs in the inning. Rusty Brown (N. Fort Myers, FL) connected on a two-run double down the left field line to tie the game and give FAU the momentum and that was the last batter that Josh Banks faced in the contest as he fell to 2-1. Reliever Derek Taylor entered the game and surrendered hits to the first two batters he faced which allowed five straight FAU hitters to reach base on hits.
FAU retained the momentum and secured the lead in the seventh and eighth innings after Ammer Cabrera walked the first four batters he faced in the eighth and FAU posted an unearned run in the ninth to give the team its first win over FIU this season.
Matt Pali, Rusty Brown and Fiorentino each recorded three RBIs to pace FAU.
Pillsbury improves to 4-1 after he worked six innings, struck out five and scattered nine hits. His counterpart Josh Banks struck out four in 5 1/3 innings and allowed seven hits. Banks held a 0.00 ERA entering the contest in 29 innings of work and had only allowed eight hits.
Florida Atlantic opens conference play this weekend when the team hosts first-year Atlantic Sun member Gardner-Webb on Friday and Saturday. Game times are scheduled for 7 pm on Friday and a doubleheader at 1 pm on Saturday.