March 15, 2013
Boca Raton, FL - Sophomore left hander Austin Gomberspread a season-high eight strikeouts across 7.1 scoreless innings as the Florida Atlantic University baseball team opened defense of last year's Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship with a 6-0 victory over South Florida rival FIU on Friday, March 13 at the FAU Baseball Stadium.
The Owls (12-7) had contributions from throughout the lineup to record their sixth straight victory over the Panthers (10-9), which were picked second in the SBC preseason poll.
FAU started quickly, scoring three runs in the first inning off FIU starting pitcher Tyler Alexander. A single by senior first baseman Mark Nelson drove in senior outfielder Nathan Pittman for the first run. Later, senior catcher Mike Spanoplated two runs with a two-out double.
The hosts took a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning when Nelson brought home his second run of the game on a groundout. Then, the team added two more runs in the eighth inning following a double by junior outfielder Tyler Rocklein and a single by sophomore shortstop Mitch Morales.
Gomber improved to 2-1 on the season after facing only two three-ball counts in his 7.1 innings on the mound. He only allowed one walk and struck out two straight FIU hitters after loading the bases in the top of the first inning.
Junior right hander Kevin Alexanderretired all five batters faced in his 1.2-inning relief appearance.
Eight of FAU's starting players had one hit, and the team drew five walks. Nelson and Spano each had two RBI, while sophomore third baseman Ricky Santiagoscored two runs.
FIU's Alexander suffered the loss, falling to 1-3 on the season. He allowed four runs in six innings and issued five walks. Julius Gaines and Edwin Rios each had two of the Panthers' eight hits in the conference opener.
The teams return to the stadium on Saturday, March 16 at 4 p.m. and will conclude the series on Sunday, March 17 at 1 p.m. Live audio and statistics of both games will be available at www.fausports.com.
Tickets are available by contacting the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.