March 4, 2011
Boca Raton, Fla. - One inning is all the Florida Atlantic University baseball team needed in Friday night's 8-4 victory over Monmouth University at the FAU Baseball Stadium in Boca Raton. The victory was the Owls' fourth straight, eighth on the home field and opened a three-game weekend series.
FAU scored seven of its eight runs in the first inning; six came with two outs; 11 batters went to the plate in the frame; and six came were unearned through three defensive errors by the visiting Hawks.
Senior first baseman Dan Scheffler started the scoring spree with a sacrifice fly to center field, which allowed junior catcher Mike Albaladejo to score, tying the game at 1-1. The Owls grabbed the lead on a base hit up the middle by junior outfielder Alex Hudak that plated senior outfielder Andy Mee.
Then, senior designated hitter Eddie Cassidy and Hudak would make it 4-1 after senior shortstop Nick DelGuidice hit a ground ball to first base that was misplayed for the Hawks' second error in the inning. Senior outfielder Colby Gratton followed with a two-run single to center field that scored DelGuidice and junior infielder Joey Burkhalter, giving the hosts a 6-1 lead. Gratton would follow by stealing third base and scoring on a Monmouth throwing error to cap off the productive start.
FAU would add more damage in the second inning on DelGuidice's two-out RBI single to right-center field that scored Scheffler for an 8-2 advantage.
Monmouth threatened with a comeback by scoring two runs in the eighth inning, but could not close the gap beyond the final 8-4 score.
Junior right hander Ryan Garton picked up the victory and settled into a rhythm during the middle innings, retiring 16 of his last 17 batters. He tossed seven quality innings, with a season-best eight strikeouts, to win his second game of the season (2-0).
The Owls' offense had 11 hits - seven came in the productive first inning - to mark the third consecutive contest with double-digit hits. Eight of the nine players in the batting order recorded at least one hit. Hudak, DelGuidice and Albaladejo all had multiple-hit performances, and senior second baseman Raymond Church extended his hitting to 20 games with an infield single during his second at-bat of the first inning. It is the longest hitting streak since Mike McKenna had a 23-game hit streak in 2007.
Monmouth's Owen Stewart had three of the team's six hits and Jamie Rosenkranz drove in two runs. Starting pitcher Nick Meyers fell to 1-1 on the season, allowing two earned of the eight runs surrendered in three innings. The Hawks fell to 2-2 on the season.
FAU returns to the diamond on Saturday for the middle game of the three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Season and individual tickets of Florida Atlantic baseball are available by calling the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.