March 17, 2009
Rutgers (8-8) was in position to get their first win in the annual non-conference series since 1998 but surrendered three runs in the ninth, all coming off closer Ryan Beard who surrendered the decisive run on a game-ending wild pitch.
Florida Atlantic (13-3) totaled a season-high 18 hits. The Owls have won five-straight and are hitting .336 as a team. Both Gratton and Bubley went 4-for-6 and combined to drive in five runs. It was the first career four-hit game for Gratton who also homered.
In a game that saw the lead exchange hands eight times, a Gratton single put FAU in front 9-8 in the seventh. The second of two Pat Biserta homers -a three-run drive in the top of the eighth - gave the lead back to the Scarlet Knights.
Trailing 11-9 in the bottom the ninth, FAU loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and a hit by pitch. Then, Gratton singled to make it a one-run game and Bubley followed by hitting a ball through the right-side of the infield tying it at 11.
With the bases still loaded and nobody out, the Knight's decided to remain with Beard (0-1) who threw a ball past catcher Jayson Hernandez, allowing Sean Bukovich to score and the Owls an improbable ninth-inning comeback.
Nick Criaris went 2-for-3 and came up with a then-game-tying RBI single in the seventh. Nick DelGuidice had a three-hit night and leads all FAU players with 26 hits this season. Travis Ozga and Tom Hatcher each added a pair of hits Tuesday, Ozga scored twice.
Three-straight Rutgers' extra-base hits greeted FAU starter Glen Troyanowski in the third and ended his night after facing 12 batters and throwing 46 pitches. Six more FAU relievers would follow. Freshman Hugh Adams (3-0) would be the pitcher of record.
The two-game series between Rutgers and FAU concludes Wednesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET at FAU Stadium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.
GAME NOTES: Florida Atlantic has played Rutgers at least once annually since 1997, winning the last 11 dating back to 1998... The FAU offense continues to pound opposing pitching, as 3B Troy Bubley (.421 BA), 1B Travis Ozga (.386 BA) and SS Nick DelGuidice (.377 BA) raised their batting averages Tuesday... Rutgers head coach Fred Hill was ejected in the fifth inning after Jaren Matthews was called out on strikes... Seven Rutgers' extra-base hits -which included two triples - was highest single-game total allowed by FAU pitching this season... A light rain began to fall in the late innings. -FAU-