April 1, 2012
Boca Raton, FL - The Florida Atlantic University baseball team used power and pitching to capture both ends of Sunday's doubleheader and complete a three-game home Sun Belt Conference sweep of the University of Louisiana-Lafayette at the FAU Baseball Stadium in Boca Raton. The Owls won the completion of Saturday's suspended game, 5-2, before exploding past the Ragin' Cajuns 8-3.
FAU takes sole possession of first place in the SBC with an 8-1 league record after the first three weekends of league play. The Owls stand 19-10 on the season. Florida Atlantic becomes the first conference team to sweep a three-game conference series from Louisiana-Lafayette in 25 league series.
In Saturday's first game, junior outfielder Corey Keller went a perfect 4-for-4 at the plate, brought home the decisive run and scored two more runs, while junior right-handed relievers Jake Meiers and R.J. Alvarez shut down Louisiana-Lafayette in the late innings for the victory. Run-scoring singles by sophomore infielder Robert Buckley and junior first baseman Mark Nelson tied the game at 2-2 in the seventh inning. Keller's liner to right-center field drove in junior third baseman Kyle Newton with the lead run. The team would add two more runs in the inning to take a 5-2 lead.
Jake Meiers picked up the victory after getting the Owls out of a jam in the sixth inning when the Ragin' Cajuns threatened by having runners on third and second bases with no outs. He proceeded to get the next batter to line out to the shortstop and struck out the next two batters. Meiers would have three strikeouts and tossed two scoreless innings to improve his record to 2-3 for the season.
Alvarez retired all six batters he faced to record his fourth save of the season and preserve the three-run victory.
In the second game, FAU hit three home runs in the first two innings to grab early momentum of the contest. Nelson connected on his fifth home run with a two-run shot over the left field fence in the bottom of the first inning. Keller immediately followed with a solo homer over the same fence as the Owls took an early 3-0 lead. Keller leads the team with six home runs.
Freshman infielder Ricky Santiago led off the second inning with a home run to left field to give the hosts a 4-0 advantage.
Later, the Owls scored three runs in the fourth inning to build a 7-0 advantage. Freshman shortstop Mitch Morales drove in Santiago with a RBI single to right field for the first run of the frame. Sophomore outfielder Geoff Jimenez scored on a single by Pittman, and Morales scored on a sacrifice fly by Newton.
That was enough offense for freshman pitcher Austin Gomber to pick up his third SBC victory, allowing just one hit and striking out seven batters in five productive innings. The left hander stands 3-1 on the season.
Junior reliever Michael Sylvestri struck out three ULL hitters in 2.2 innings, and freshman relievers Brett Nizamoff and Julian Loret de Mola got the last four outs of the game to complete the series sweep.
Offensively, Keller paced the offensive attack for the day, going 6-for-8 with two RBIs and three runs scored. He has had multiple-hit efforts in the past five games and had two home runs in the weekend series.
Senior infielder/catcher Mike Albaladejo and Jimenez also tallied three hits in the two victories.
Louisiana-Lafayette fell to 13-14 overall and 3-6 in SBC play.
FAU returns to the diamond to face cross-town foe Lynn University on Tuesday, April 3, at 6:30 p.m. at the FAU Stadium. Live audio and statistics of the game can be found at www.fausports.com. For tickets contact the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.