April 14, 2013
Boca Raton, Fla. - Late-inning heroics propelled the Florida Atlantic University baseball team to a doubleheader sweep over Middle Tennessee State University on Sunday, April 14 in Sun Belt Conference action at the FAU Baseball Stadium.
The Owls (24-12, 10-5 SBC) scored four runs in the eighth inning to win the opener 5-3 and plated eight runs in their last two at bats to rally for a 8-3 victory in the second game. The victories keep FAU in a three-way tie atop the SBC standings at the halfway mark of the league season.
Trailing 3-1 in the eighth inning of the opener, senior Nathan Pittman hit a base-loaded double down the right field line to take a 4-3 lead as senior Corey Keller, sophomore Mitch Morales and junior Robert Buckley scored. Pittman would later come home on a balk to increase the hosts lead to 5-3.
Senior Hugh Adams tossed a scoreless ninth inning to secure the victory. The senior closer leads the SBC with 11 saves and ranks third all-time in the league with 24 career saves.
MTSU took a 1-0 lead on a bases-loaded walk to Jake Ellison in the fourth inning. The Blue Raiders added another run in the fifth inning on Johnny Thomas' double that scored Hank LaRue.
The Owls answered in the bottom of the fifth inning on a sacrifice fly by Keller that plated junior Tyler Rocklein, who led off the inning with a double -- the first base runner to reach against MTSU starting pitcher Hunter Adkins.
FAU reliever Bo Logan picked up the victory, improving to 3-0 on the season. Junior starting pitcher Jeremy Strawn allowed two runs, one unearned, in 4.1 innings, while senior Michael Sylvestri had two strikeouts in 3.1 innings in middle-inning relief.
In the nightcap, MTSU (20-18, 6-9 SBC) once again took the early lead by scoring three runs in the second inning on four hits. That advantage would hold up until the seventh inning. Junior Nicholas Worrall was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to plate the first run of the inning. Then, Pittman, the next batter, hit a two-run single to left field that scored Keller and Morales to tie the game, 3-3.
The Owls would break things open in the next inning with a five-run inning on RBI singles by Keller, Morales, junior catcher Levi Meyer and freshman Brandon Sanger. Keller's hit to center scored Rocklein for a 4-3 lead; Morales' hit brought home sophomore Ricky Santiago; Meyer's single brought Keller and Morales around to score; and Sanger capped the frame by bringing home Buckley.
The scoring outburst made a winner out of senior middle reliever Jake Meiers, who improved to 3-2 on the season. The right hander allowed just one base runner in three innings. Adams closed out the victory with a scoreless ninth inning. Freshman starting pitcher Brandon Rhodes received a no-decision after striking out two opposing batters in five innings on the mound.
MTSU reliever Aaron Hyder allowed three runs, two of them earned, in one inning to drop his record to 1-1 on the season. Starting pitcher Zac Cooper allowed two runs in 6.1 innings.
Pittman had two RBI in each game of the doubleheader. Rocklein paced the offensive attack in the opener, going 3-for-4 with two doubles. Sanger, Santiago and Morales each had two hits in the second contest.
FAU returns to the diamond on Tuesday, April 16 when playing at UCF, starting at 6:30 p.m. Live audio and statistics of the game will be available at www.fausports.com.
Single-game tickets for all home games can be purchased by contacting the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.