March 24, 2012
Murfreesboro, TN - Sophomore starting pitcher Kevin Alexander tossed seven strong innings and the Florida Atlantic University baseball team scored four times in the eighth inning to rally past Middle Tennessee State University 4-1 on Saturday at Reese Smith Jr. Field in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
The victory keeps FAU in first place in the Sun Belt Conference with a 4-1 league record - all coming on the road. Overall, the team stands 15-9 on the season. The two teams will conclude the series with a deciding game on Sunday, March 25, at 1 p.m. after MTSU won Friday night's opener.
The Owls were held in check by Middle Tennessee starting pitcher Johnathan Frebis through the first seven innings, failing to have a base runner and trailing 1-0.
That all changed in one single at bat as junior third baseman Kyle Newton hit a lead-off home run in the eighth inning to tie the game. The blast to left-center field was his fourth of the season. Then, junior outfielder Corey Keller drew a walk that prompted a pitching change for the host Blue Raiders. Junior Dylan Seigel's first FAU hit brought home Keller to give the team a 2-1 lead.
Later, with runners at third and first bases, freshman shortstop Mitch Morales took off for second base and drew a rundown long enough that allowed Seigel to successful steal home for the third run of the inning.
Finally, junior first baseman Mark Nelson drew a bases-loaded walk to complete the big inning and give FAU a 4-1 advantage. The team scored all four runs, had all four hits and all of their base runners in the big eighth inning.
That's all the room that junior relief pitcher R.J. Alvarez needed to nail down his second save of the season after tossing two scoreless innings.
The late rally made a winner out of Alexander, who scattered six hits, four strike outs and one run in a strong seven-inning effort. He improved to 4-1 on the season. "I just kept trying to throw strikes and get outs," said Alexander. "Their pitcher kept putting up zero after zero and I just tried to match him with zeros. It feels good to win the game and even the series."
MTSU (14-9, 3-2 Sun Belt) broke a scoreless game with a two-out RBI single by pinch-hitter Matthew Drake in the seventh inning that scored Hank LaRue, who had three of the team's seven hits. Ethan Williams tallied two hits for the hosts.
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.