March 17, 2012
Miami, FL - Two home runs by junior first baseman Mark Nelson in consecutive innings scored six runs in the Florida Atlantic University baseball team's 9-5 come-from-behind victory over FIU on Saturday in Sun Belt Conference action at the FIU Baseball Stadium in Miami. The victory gave the Owls the first two games of this conference-opening road weekend series.
FAU improved to 13-7 on the season and is 2-0 in league action. The two teams will conclude the series on Sunday, March 18, at 1 p.m.
Trailing 4-0, Coach John McCormack's team scored nine times over the course of the sixth and seventh innings to reverse fortunes in the game against its South Florida rivals. Sophomore outfielder Geoff Jimenez started the two-out rally by beating out an infield single. Then, a fly ball by senior infielder Mike Albaladejo was dropped in left field. That allowed the swift Jimenez to round the base paths and score. Nelson brought the Owls within a run, at 4-3, on his first home run of the night over the left field fence.
The Owls continued the momentum into the seventh inning. Junior catcher Mike Spano scored on a throwing error by FIU's starting pitcher Michael Ellis. That run evened the game at 4-4. A run-scoring groundout by freshman shortstop Mitch Morales scored junior outfielder Corey Keller with the lead run. After a fielder's choice and walk, Nelson cleared the bases with a grand slam homer over the right field fence to put the visitors on top 9-4.
Nelson entered the game with one home run and the six-RBI night was a career-high.
FIU (8-9, 0-2 Sun Belt) scored runs in the first and second innings on two-out singles. Aramis Garcia would give the hosts a 4-0 advantage with a two-run single in the fifth inning. That base hit also came with two outs in the inning.
FAU sophomore starting pitcher Kevin Alexander improved to 3-0 on the season with seven productive innings. The right hander retired the last six batters he faced once the Owls scored their first run. He allowed three earned runs and struck out three batters.
Nelson and Jimenez each tallied two hits each to lead FAU's seven-hit attack. Junior third baseman Kyle Newton, Keller and Morales also had one hit in the victory.
FIU's Garcia tallied three hits to pace the Panthers' 12-hit performance. Julius Gaines also had three hits while Pablo Bermundez recorded two hits for Miami-based team, which had four errors. In fact, four of FAU's nine runs were unearned in the game.
Florida Atlantic has now won a series to start the SBC season for the second straight season.
Live audio and statistics of Sunday's game can be found at www.fausports.com. For season tickets contact the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.