March 15, 2003
Florida Atlantic University won the three-game series over Mercer University on Saturday after splitting a doubleheader 3-7, 5-0. The 2003 series is only the second time in the last five years that FAU has won the series over the Bears.
Mercer (8-15, 3-6 A-Sun) jumped out early on a flat FAU squad. FAU (19-6, 7-2 A-Sun) committed two errors in the first inning of game one that led to two Mercer runs. Mercer took a 3-0 lead in the third when third baseman Daniel Hurst singled up the middle to score Rick Byrd, as Hurst collected his first of four RBIs in the game.
Florida Atlantic's first run came in the third inning after Tim Mascia (Wellington, FL) recorded the third hit of the game with a single up the middle. Mascia moved to third base on two ground balls before Jeff Fiorentino plated the center fielder on a base hit to right field.
FAU struck again in the fourth and sixth innings with two home runs. Seniors Mike Cox (Sarasota, FL) and Matt Pali (Houston, TX) both picked up their fourth home runs of the season to bring FAU within one run at 4-3. But Mercer put the game out of reach in the seventh inning as they added three runs, two off of Chris Saxton who had not given up a run in 13 innings of work entering the afternoon. With two outs and the bases loaded, Hurst singled to score two, before catcher Jason Camardese singled up the middle to provide the final margin of victory 7-3.
James Morrison (3-3) earned the win as he pitched a complete game as he scattered nine hits and struck out four. Chris Pillsbury (5-2) suffered his second loss of the season after he pitched six innings and struck out three.
Game two lasted longer than expected as a lightening show delayed the contest twice. Florida Atlantic managed to hold on to a 5-0 victory despite the delays. In seven inning contests it is important to get on the board early and FAU managed to score twice in the third inning when Mike Murray singled and scored on a Jeff Fiorentino double to right field. Fiorentino advanced to third on a fly ball and then scored on a wild pitch by Brandon Davidson. Davidson took the loss after he pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up three runs.
The third run that he gave up was a Matt Pali home run in the fourth inning. The homer was Pali's second of the day and his fifth of the season.
Three singles in the sixth allowed FAU to score two more times and capped off the afternoon with a 5-0 win.
Randy Beam combined with Chris Della Rocco and Allen Knight to record FAU's fifth shutout of the season. Beam (5-1) worked five innings and struck out four. Knight (Boca Raton, FL) recorded the only other strike out in the game.
FAU will play five games next week. The team will host Kansas State on Tuesday at 7 pm before Rutgers visits on Wednesday. Conference play will resume on Friday and Saturday as Florida Atlantic travels to Jacksonville State.