March 13, 2012
Boca Raton, FL - Freshman shortstop Mitch Morales' two-out, run-scoring single fueled a late scoring barrage for the Florida Atlantic University baseball that led to a 8-5 victory over Fordham University on Tuesday night at the FAU Baseball Stadium in Boca Raton. The victory broke a two-game losing streak and gives the Owls an 11-7 record heading into the start of Sun Belt Conference play this weekend.
FAU scored three times in its last two at-bats to break up a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning. The rally started innocently, followed a fly out and strike out. Freshman Ricky Santiago hit a double through the right-center field gap. Junior outfielder Gregg Bennis followed with a walk. That's when Morales singled up the middle to score Santiago with the winning run.
The Owls added two more runs in the eighth inning to pull away from the visiting Rams. Senior infielder Mike Albaladejo scored on a passed ball for a 7-5 advantage, and junior catcher Mike Spano drove in his third run of the night with a hit down the left field line that brought home junior first baseman Mark Nelson.
Florida Atlantic jumped out to a 5-0 lead after the third inning. The Albaladejo-and-Spano combination scored the first run following a sacrifice fly. An inning later, Bennis tripled and then scored on a RBI ground out by sophomore outfielder Geoff Jimenez. Morales would score on a double by Albaladejo to put FAU on top 3-0.
Spano connected on his first home run of the season with a solo shot in the third inning over the right field fence. Then, junior outfielder Corey Keller scored on an error by Fordham's starting pitcher Daniel Munday.
Fordham (5-11) answered with three runs in the sixth inning before tying the game with two runs in the seventh inning. The Rams recorded six of their 10 hits in the game during those two scoring innings.
FAU junior reliever R.J. Alvarez came out the bullpen and kept Fordham from taking the lead over 2.2 scoreless innings. He struck out three of the 11 batters, including Brendan Magnini in the eighth when the Rams had the game-tying run at third base. Alvarez picked up the victory to improve to 3-0 on the season.
Freshman starting pitcher Austin Gomber received a no-decision, but struck out a career-high seven batters in five scoreless innings.
Albaladejo and Nelson each had three-hit performances, while Spano rounded out the multiple-hit efforts by going 2-for-4 with three RBIs. The Owls had 13 hits in the victory.
Fordham was paced by Brian Kownacki with two hits and two runs driven in. Reliever Rich Anastasi suffered the loss, falling to 2-2 on the season allowing one run in 4.2 innings. He recorded seven strikeouts.
FAU opens league play on Friday, March 16, at 7 p.m. against rival FIU in Miami. League coaches picked FAU to finish tied for fourth place in the conference's preseason poll.
Live audio and statistics of Friday's conference opener at FIU can be found at www.fausports.com. For season tickets contact the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.