Matt Pali was 3-for-7 with three RBIs on the day
March 8, 2003
After moving back the series one day, Florida Atlantic University and Georgia State opened a three-game series on Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader. FAU dominated game one and won 10-3 before the Panthers fought back in game two and out-hit FAU despite a 7-4 loss. FAU's offense tallied a total of 18 hits in the seven inning contests.
Jumping on top first, Florida Atlantic (15-5, 4-1 A-Sun) used a four run third inning to set the tone for the weekend. With two outs, an error by the Georgia State second baseman allowed the inning to continue and allowed the first Florida Atlantic run to score as Mike Murray crossed the plate. The second run scored when GSU starter Tim Burgess (3-1) gave up a walk to Rob Horst (Gering, NE) with the bases loaded. Matt Pali followed it up with a single to left field for his 13th and 14th RBIs of the season and put FAU up 4-0.
FAU's starter, Danny Core (4-1), gave up his second home run of the season in the fourth to Rusty Bennett as Georgia Stated (7-7, 3-2 A-Sun) posted its first run on the board.
Three more FAU runs were added in the fifth as Rusty Brown (N. Fort Myers, FL) connected on a two-run home run to left center field, his second home run in two games. Shaen O'Connor (Jupiter, FL) kept the inning alive with a two out single. Pinch runner Matt Ryan (Camden, NJ) advanced to third on two GSU miscues before Robert Orton (Wellington, FL) drove home the seventh run of the contest.
A lead off single in the eighth and a two out single in the ninth allowed the Panthers to score their final two runs of the contest and gain momentum going into game two.
Giving FAU all it could handle in game two, GSU struck first in the bottom of the first off of starter Chris Pillsbury (5-1). Kevin Kawasaki started things off with a single before he advanced to second on a ground out. Two singles later he would cross the plate for Georgia State's first lead of the series. With a man on first and third and only one out, Pillsbury looked to be in a jam. Left fielder Matt Pali would help out with the final two outs when he caught a foul fly ball down the line. Dustin Phillips decided to try and test Pali's arm but found himself thrown out at the plate. Two GSU players would be thrown out at the plate in the game.
Two doubles, a walk, and a Derek Hutton sacrifice fly gave FAU the lead back in the fourth 2-1. But it would be short lived as Pillsbury allowed the first batter he faced, Rusty Bennett, to reach base after hitting him in the back. Bennett would eventually score on a sacrifice fly.
Padding the lead in the fourth, Matt Pali ripped a ball down the first base line that allowed Jeff Fiorentino to score from second. Pali (Houston, TX) advanced to second on a balk and scored on a Rusty Brown single down the left line.
James Callahan came out of the bullpen in the fifth to pitch 1 2/3 strong innings for FAU. Callahan, a senior from Ft. Lauderdale, FL worked through the sixth before closer Chris Saxton entered to pitch the final inning.
FAU gave Saxton four runs to work with after back-to-back homers by Mike Cox and Pali in the seventh.
The final game of the series will be played at DeKalb South Stadium on Sunday at noon.