March 5, 2003
With it second consecutive win over Florida International University, Florida Atlantic University evened the season series with an impressive 20-0 win over the Golden Panthers. FAU had its most productive outing of the season with 16 hits and the pitching staff recorded its third shutout of the season.
FAU's starting pitcher Travis NeSmith made quick work of the Golden Panthers (13-5) in the first five innings. The junior from Miami, FL only faced three batters over the minimum and only allowed one hit as he improved to 2-1.
Head coach Kevin Cooney believes that NeSmith had his best outing of the season. "Travis had a great game. He was in a good rhythm and the early lead allowed him to relax."
FAU (13-5) squandered a scoring opportunity in the first after Alex Fonseca started the game with a double down the left field line. The freshman advanced to third with one out but Florida Atlantic was unable to get the run across the plate.
The team did not pass up many opportunities to score after the first as the leadoff batter in the second, Rusty Brown (N. Fort Myers, FL) took advantage of the breeze out to left field in the second inning when he swung at a pitch low in the strike zone and saw the ball carry over the left field fence. Brown would return to bat in the inning as FAU batted around, scoring six runs on four hits and three walks. Mike Cox (Sarasota, FL) increased his RBI total to 15 with a bases loaded double to score three.
Two FIU miscues led to another five runs in the third as FAU jumped out to a 11-0 lead and continued to pad the lead as they added two more in the fourth after Peter Kocur loaded the bases by walking three straight. Mike Murray, who made his first start of the season at first base, picked up two RBIs in the inning with a single to right field.
Robert Orton added three RBIs of his own after a homer to left field in the seventh. There was never a doubt when the ball left the bat that it was gone and FAU increased the lead to 18-0 lead. Orton (Wellington, FL) finished the night with a career-high six RBIs.
Two sacrifice flies in the ninth gave FAU the final margin of 20-0.
"We made some lineup changes tonight to try and score more runs and managed to score a bunch of runs," stated head coach Kevin Cooney. "We needed a big game heading into conference play this weekend."
Manuel Monreal started for Florida International and falls to 1-1 after working two innings and giving up 10 runs. The loss was the second worst in FIU history and the first time the team has been shut out since the Super Regional in 2001.
FAU travels to Atlanta, GA this weekend to take on Georgia State University in a conference meeting on Friday and Saturday.