March 6, 2011
Boca Raton, Fla. - Recording double-digit hits for the fifth straight game paved the way for the Florida Atlantic University baseball team to defeat Monmouth University 9-5 on Sunday at the FAU Baseball Stadium in Boca Raton. The victory gave the Owls a three-game series sweep over the Hawks and was the sixth straight win for the team. FAU, 10-3 on the season, now prepares to host Virginia Tech on Tuesday, March 8, starting at 6:30 p.m.
The Owls took advantage of the only two Monmouth errors of the game to break a 5-5 tie by taking the lead for good in the fifth inning and insurance runs in the eighth inning. The first error was committed when junior outfielder Alex Hudak was attempting to second base when the throw sailed high to easily allow sophomore designated hitter Corey Keller to score from third base. That gave the host a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Hudak would later score on a RBI double by senior shortstop Nick DelGuidice.
In the eighth inning, the Owls would add two insurance runs to round out the scoring. Senior second baseman Raymond Church lined a double off the left field wall to plate senior third baseman Sean Bukovich, who led off the frame with a single. Church's hit extended his hitting streak to 22 games, the longest since Mike McKenna had a 23-game hit streak in 2006. Church came around to score on a RBI single by senior outfielder Andy Mee to give FAU the 9-5 advantage.
The late inning rally made a winner out of junior Josh Gonzaga. The left hander tossed five shutout innings to improve to 3-1 on the season. All three victories have come out of the bullpen. Mee tossed a scoreless ninth inning to preserve the win.
FAU grabbed the early momentum with two first inning runs. Hudak placed a double to left field and out of the reach of a diving Hawks outfielder. The double came with two-outs and scored senior first baseman Dan Scheffler and Mee on the bases-loaded situation. Mee and Scheffler each singled to start the first inning rally with two outs.
The first inning runs marked the fifth consecutive game that FAU has scored in the opening frame. During the team's six-game winning streak the Owls have outscored the opposition 21-4 margin in their first at-bats of the game.
Monmouth cut the deficit to 2-1 on a RBI single by Jake Gronsky in the second inning.
FAU got back in scoring groove in the third inning, scoring three runs in the frame to build a 5-1 advantage. Scheffler lined a double down the left field line to plate junior catcher Mike Albaladejo. A RBI groundout by Hudak scored Mee for the second run while Scheffler would score on a single by DelGuidice to cap the inning.
However, the visiting Hawks battled back scoring four times in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game. Second baseman Ryan Terry lined a base hit to plate Anthony Lawrence and Jon Guida. A sacrifice fly by Nick Pusonetti to right field scored Ed Martin to draw the Hawks within one at 5-4. Monmouth tied the game on a RBI single by Owen Stewart.
All nine players recorded a hit as the Owls pounded out 15 base hits against Monmouth pitching. The team had a .359 batting average in the series, scored 23 runs and had 37 hits. More importantly, the defense committed only two errors in the three-game sweep.
Mee paced the balanced offensive attack going 3-for-5 with two runs scored on Sunday. Hudak drove in three runs and went 2-for-4 at the plate. Scheffler and DelGuidice rounded out the multiple hit performers with two hits.
Monmouth's Terry had three of the team's nine hits while Stewart recorded two hits for the Hawks. Dan Smith suffered the loss (0-1) allowing seven runs in five innings.
Season and individual tickets of Florida Atlantic baseball are available by calling the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.