March 6, 2004
Matt O'Brien recorded a career-high 10 strikeouts in six innings as Florida Atlantic University pulled off its third straight victory over Florida International University 13-5 Saturday night at University Park. Fifteen FAU hits supported the strong pitching effort and Jeff Fiorentino hit his third career grand slam as Florida Atlantic improves to 15-1, while FIU falls to 6-12.
O'Brien (Royal Palm Beach, Fl) gave up two runs in the second inning as he gave up his first home runs of the season on back-to-back shots by FIU's Yahmend Yema and Jeff Skellenger. The back-to-back blasts were the Golden Panthers second of the season.
FAU squandered a chance to score in the second after a leadoff double by Rob Horst (Gering, NE). The right fielder moved to third on a Tim Mascia (Wellington, FL) single. Horst remained stranded as David Asher struck out the final two batters of the inning.
One run in the third decreased the deficit to one as Justin Martin (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) lead off with a single. Martin would score on two Golden Panther throwing errors.
Scoring in four of the final five innings FAU cushioned its lead. A seven run fourth was highlighted by Fiorentino's grand slam as the visitors batters around and six players recorded hits off of reliever Danny Hernandez. Each FAU hit finished the night with a hit. Martin led the squad with a three-for-five performance.
The bullpen continued to provide strong support as Mark Culp, Craig Hughes and Allen Knight each saw time on the mound. Culp struck out two in one inning but saw his perfect season end as he gave up his first base hit of the season in five innings of work as Luis Rivera started a two-out rally in the seventh frame. He closed out the side by striking out Dennis Diaz.
Knight (Boca Raton, FL) remains untouchable in 5 1/3 innings as he has not allowed a hit and struck out six.
O'Brien received the victory and improves to 5-0 after he struck out 10 and allowed two runs on five hits.
Denny Hernandez will face Mike Crotta in Sunday's meeting at 4 pm in Boca Raton, FL. The meeting will be the 60th meeting between the south Florida rivals.