March 8, 2011
Boca Raton, Fla. - Five errors proved costly for the Florida Atlantic University baseball team in a 14-2 loss to Virginia Tech on Tuesday night at the FAU Baseball Stadium in Boca Raton. The loss halted the Owls' six-game winning streak and drops the team to 10-4 on the season.
The visiting Hokies, a NCAA regional qualifier last season, broke open a close game with three unearned runs in the fifth inning, and Andrew Rash connected on his second home run of the evening in the seventh frame to build a 7-1 advantage. Then, five more Virginia Tech runs were scored in the eighth inning and three more in the ninth inning.
A failed pickoff attempt by the Owls contributed to Virginia Tech's first run in the opening frame. The miscue allowed Tony Balisteri to move from first to third base. He then came home on Michael Seaborn's sacrifice fly to left field.
Another unearned run pushed the lead to 2-0 in the third inning following an infield single by Tim Smalling scored Johnny Morales.
The sloppy defense was tough to overcome for sophomore Jake Meiers, who tossed seven productive innings in the loss. The Lake Worth native falls to 1-2 after allowing two earned runs of the seven runs under his watch.
Meanwhile, Virginia Tech starting pitcher Joey Parson improved to 3-0 on the season with five strong innings. The right hander recorded four strikeouts and allowed one unearned run.
Offensively, the Hokies were led by Tim Smalling and Rash, each with multiple-hit performances.
For FAU, junior infielder Joey Burkhalter and junior outfielder Alex Hudak had two hits apiece to account for four of the team's eight hits. Senior infielder Raymond Church lined a base hit to center field in the ninth inning to extend his hitting streak to 23 games - one game shy of the school record currently held by Kevin Connacher during the 1994 season. Church's hit scored freshman outfielder Geoff Jimenez, who tripled to leadoff the ninth inning for his first career hit.
Florida Atlantic's other run came on a two-out base hit by Burkhalter, who scored Hudak to cut the lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The Owls will return to the diamond on Thursday, March 10, when they begin a three-game series against Seton Hall University, starting at 6:30 p.m. Season and individual tickets of Florida Atlantic baseball are available by calling the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.