Troy, AL - A three-run seventh inning helped pave the way for the Florida Atlantic University baseball team to earn a 7-3 road Sun Belt Conference victory over rival Troy University on Friday at Riddle-Pace Field in Troy, Alabama.
The Owls continue to lead the league with a 14-3 conference record and now have won eight of their 10 road league games. Overall, FAU stands 26-15 on the season.
Leading 3-2 heading into the seventh inning, senior outfielder Alex Hudak jumpstarted FAU's decisive three-run frame with a run-scoring single to right field. His second hit of the evening scored junior first baseman Mark Nelson. Junior catcher Mike Spano followed with a run-scoring single to bring home junior third baseman Kyle Newton, and freshman shortstop Mitch Morales had an infield single to plate Hudak. When all of the dust had settled, the visitors had enjoyed a 6-2 lead.
"I just tried to stay calm in that at-bat and slow things down at the plate," said Hudak of the key run-scoring single in the seventh inning. "I got a pitch in the zone that I could hit. The hit found the hole and scored a run. It was a big point in the game."
The Owls tallied 15 hits in the game and had five players recorded multiple-hit efforts. Morales had a career-high three hits, while Nelson went 3-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. Junior outfielder Corey Keller, Newton and Hudak each added two hits. Every batter in the lineup reached base safely in the victory.
FAU jumped on Troy starting pitcher Tyler Ray in the first inning when Nelson hit a RBI single that scored Keller. The team built a 2-0 lead in the second inning on a sacrifice fly by sophomore outfielder Geoff Jimenez that pushed across Hudak.
Troy (18-24, 6-13 Sun Belt) squared the game on a two-out, two-run home run by Chase Mathis in the second inning.
However, the visitors quickly regained the lead in the top of the third inning on Newton's RBI double to left-center field that scored senior infielder Mike Albaladejo.
Senior right hander Ryan Garton picked up the victory, tossing seven quality innings. He improved to 8-2 on the season and matched a season-high eight strikeouts. Senior reliever Ahmed Garcia pitched the final two innings to secure the win.
Troy's Ray fell to 3-5 on the season, allowing six runs and 13 hits in seven innings. Jakob Nixon had two of the Trojans' six hits to pace the team's offensive attack.
The three-game weekend series resumes at Troy on Saturday, April 28, at 7 p.m. 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.
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