April 17, 2009
BOCA RATON, FL - Adam Morrison pitched into the eighth and the Florida Atlantic University offense backed him with six unanswered runs in the Owls' 9-5 comeback victory over upstart Bryant University Friday night.
William Block and Nick Criaris, senior starters for Florida Atlantic (19-16), each had two hits and two RBI. Block's two RBI came via a single during a decisive eighth inning in which the Owls had five hits and scored three times off Bryant's bullpen.
Bryant (26-11) has put together a nice season for a first-year NCAA DI program, especially considering it has played just six games on its home field. Pat O'Connor had two hits and Tim Norton hit his second triple.
Morrison (1-0) - making his first Friday start of the year - scattered eight hits, eating up 7 1/3 innings to open up the four-game weekend series. All the more important as FAU may be without its No. 1 and No. 2 starters, Mike Gipson and Barry Rooks who are injured and doubtful to pitch this weekend. Morrison's senior classmate Chris Schmitt picked up the save, allowing the Owls to improve to 16-7 at FAU Stadium.
Norton's RBI-triple in the second inning and an O'Connor sac fly in the third put Bryant up 2-1 in the early stages.
FAU took the lead in the fourth on a Criaris' double into the right-field corner. Jeremy Griffiths and Nick Delguidice, who had singled, both scored on the play. The two-RBI from Criaris put Morrison back on the mound in the fifth with a 3-2 lead.
But FAU would trail 5-3 in the sixth, before DelGuidice hit a two-run double off Bryant starter Kevin Cobb. The double, DelGuidice's ninth, came with no outs, chasing Cobb with the game tied 5-5. Junior reliever Nick Laude (0-1) came in and got Cobb out of the jam, walking two but leaving DelGuidice stranded at third.
The Owls' rally continued in the seventh. Laude hit Tom Hatcher to lead off the inning and was then pulled in favor of Matt Griswold. A walk and wild pitch moved Hatcher to third with two outs. With Griswold still on the mound, Hatcher would race home on a successful 2-3-6 pickoff play at the first-base bag. Hatcher's go-ahead run in the seventh was followed by three more in the eighth, highlighted by Block's two-RBI single.
The two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. and a final game Sunday, also at 1 p.m.
GAME NOTES: Prior to the game there was a brief ceremony on the field recognizing FAU's record-setting team of 1999; attending alumni threw out the ceremonial first pitch... That 1999 Owls' squad still holds the NCAA record for consecutive wins (34) en route to finishing 54-9 and qualifying for FAU's first DI NCAA Regional.