BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Florida Atlantic University baseball team, on the strength of a two-run home run by Esteban Puerta in the bottom of the eighth, took the series sweep of Conference USA rival Middle Tennessee on Sunday afternoon at FAU Baseball Stadium, 7-6.
The Turning Point
The Owls (14-5-1, 3-0 C-USA) took their first lead of the day in the fifth, 4-3, on a Pedro Pages single and Eric Rivera sacrifice fly. But Middle Tennessee (8-11, 0-3 C-USA) tied it each time at bat in the seventh and the eighth, the latter making it a 5-5 game.
FAU looked primed to regain the lead once more in their half of the eighth, having the first two batters reach (David Miranda on a single, and a walk to Stephen Kerr, his fourth of the game). A failed bunt turned into a double play though, leaving just one runner on with two outs. But Puerta cranked a 1-2 fastball out to leftfield, his fifth of the year, to push the home team back up 7-5.
- Kyle Marman (1-1) picked up the win, finishing out the MT eighth and stranding the tying run on base
- The Blue Raiders threatened in the ninth, scoring a run and having runners on the corners with just one out, but Owls’ closer Cameron Ragsdale induced a pop-up to short and flyout to center for his fifth save of the year
- Puerta’s home run capped a 3-for-4 day, and was his third run scored of the game
- The only other Owls with multiple hits were Miranda and Pages with two each; Miranda’s first hit, in the first inning, was his fifth home run of the year
- Though MT issued 10 BB, only two FAU runs were scored by those reaching via a walk
- The starting pitching matchup featured two alumni of nearby Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland: the Owls’ Jake Miednik and Devin Conn of MT
“In a game like this, we can’t make those mistakes,” said Head Coach John McCormack. “We don’t have the strikeout guys in the back end of the bullpen, so we’ve got to make plays … But then E.P. (Puerta) picked us up. It’s nice to have those seniors around that have been through it. They can kind of keep their head.”
The Owls travel for a Wednesday matchup in Coral Gables against Miami, with a first pitch start time of 6 p.m.