April 2, 2014
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Freshman Cain Spangler stole home in the top of the 11 inning on Tuesday to give the Florida Atlantic University baseball team a 5-4 win over No. 12 Florida in Gainesville.
Senior Kevin Alexander, who missed the last two weeks due to illness, returned in top form, earning the win in three innings of work.
FAU hit five doubles and freshman Esteban Puerta earned four consecutive hits and went 4-for-5 on the day to lead the Owls at the plate. Stephen Kerr, Brendon Sanger and CJ Chatham each picked up multiple hits on the night.
The Owls (16-12) fell behind early as the Gators (19-10) posted three runs in the first inning. FAU would respond in the top of the second with singles by Ricky Santiago, Puerta and Kevin Abraham. Chatham hit an RBI groundout to score Santiago, shrinking the Florida lead to 3-1.
Chatham cut the lead in half in the fifth inning by hitting an 0-2 pitch over the left center wall for his third home run of the season.
With two outs in the sixth, sophomore Billy Endris hit a double to left center and Puerta singled on the next pitch to drive him in and tie the game at 3-3.
The Gators retook the lead in the bottom of the frame on a sacrifice fly after a hit, a hit batter and a double steal.
The Owls wouldn't go away, however, as they tied the game once more in the seventh as freshman Kerr and Sanger each doubled. FAU loaded the bases in the ninth after Chatham and Kerr singled to lead off the inning, but was unable to get any runs across.
Florida put two on with no outs in the bottom of the ninth and had the potential game-winning run on third before the Owls extinguished the rally under Alexander's guidance.
Spangler and Sanger each hit singles in the 11th before Tyler Rocklein reached on a fielder's choice that left runners at the corners with two outs. With a 1-2 count on Santiago, FAU Head Coach John McCormack called for a double steal.
Rocklein took off for second, drawing the attention of the Florida defense. With perfect timing, Spangler took off for home and beat the throw to score the go-ahead run.
Alexander struck out two in the bottom of the 11th to seal FAU's seventh victory all-time against the Gators.
FAU returns to Conference USA action with a three-game series at Marshall starting on Friday, April 4 in Beckley, West Virginia. Free audio will be available on FAUSports.com with Brandon Goodwin calling the play-by-play.