Senior pitcher Adam Morrison (Photo by Kevin Glackmeyer)
April 24, 2009
BOWLING GREEN, KY - From Adam Morrison shutting-down one of the nation's best offensives to Tom Hatcher's clutch two-out double in the seventh and Glen Troyanowski working a perfect ninth for his sixth save, Florida Atlantic University proved something to themselves and sent a message to the rest of the Sun Belt Conference on Friday night.
Morrison kept Western Kentucky scoreless into the seventh as FAU beat the league-leading Hilltoppers 3-1. WKU had won 16-straight games on their home field. It was the seventh-straight win for Florida Atlantic (24-16; 7-11 Sun Belt) and kept the Owls in position to make a run at the SBC title in May.
Western Kentucky (28-12; 14-5 Sun Belt) - a team which entered the week top 10 among all NCAA DI teams in hits (420) and runs (349) - managed just three hits against Morrison through 6 2/3.
"I felt really good," said Morrison. "I had all my pitches working for me and the guys made some big plays behind me, allowing my pitch count to stay low and from there I was able to get to the late innings."
Morrison (2-2) struck out four and allowed one run on five hits in his first Friday start of the season. Morrison worked through two early jams and cruised into the seventh before Jeremy Coleman ended the shutout bid with a two-out single to center.
FAU touched-up Matt Hightower (5-1) - one of the league's premier starters - for 11 hits but would score just once and leave seven stranded before Hatcher's double ended his night.
"The main thing tonight was how we responded to another close league game," said FAU head baseball coach John McCormack. "It was nice tonight to see the confidence in the guys. They were trying to put some things together but Adam (Morrison) comes up big and the bullpen backs him and of course (Tom) Hatcher has the big hit."
With FAU leading 3-1 with two-on and two-out in seventh, Chris Schmitt came on and got Wade Gaynor to pop up to end the threat. Schmitt pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings, setting things up for Owls' closer Glen Troyanowski to work the ninth. Troyanowski fanned pinch-hitter C.J. Wamsley to begin the inning en route to his sixth save.
"It was a big win," Morrison added. "It was Friday night, series-opener, and now we have a ton of momentum going for us."
The series continues with a 4 p.m. game Saturday afternoon. The game will be televised live on Comcast Sports Southeast (CSS).
GAME NOTES: FAU's seven-game winning streak is a season-high... WKU entered the game 21-1 at home and riding a 16-game home win streak... WKU is No. 40 in the NCAA's second official release of the college baseball RPI, the highest rated team in the Sun Belt... 21 of FAU's 40 games have been decided by 2 runs or less... Hatcher's double in the seventh was his 10th of the year and brought his RBI total up to 30... The senior from Roswell, Georgia leads the club with a .564 slugging percentage.
Nick Mirkovich - FAU Media Relations