May 1, 2011
Boca Raton, Fla. - Senior shortstop Nick DelGuidice kept the Florida Atlantic University baseball team in contention for the Sun Belt Conference regular-season championship with one swing of the bat as a grand slam home run paved the way for a 7-1 victory over Troy University on Sunday afternoon at the FAU Baseball Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla.
The Owls won the last two games of the weekend league series from the first-place Trojans. FAU improves to 26-17 on the season and stays in second place in the Sun Belt Conference with a 13-8 mark. Troy, ranked No. 19, falls to 31-13 for the season and 15-6 in conference action.
After allowing a run in the second inning, FAU answered with two runs in the same frame. In a bases-loaded situation, sophomore outfielder Nathan Pittman hit a perfectly placed check swing base hit along the third base line to score senior first baseman Dan Scheffler with the tying run. Later, senior outfielder Andy Mee was walked on four consecutive pitches to force DelGuidice home and provide the Owls with the 2-1 advantage.
The game would remain tight until DelGuidice's heroics in the fifth inning. Senior outfielder Colby Gratton led off the frame with a double to left field. Senior second baseman Raymond Church followed with a walk against Troy starting pitcher Jimmy Hodgskin. Then, Scheffler lined a base hit to right field to load the bases.
DelGuidice connected on his second career grand slam on a 0-2 pitch from Troy reliever Shane McCain in the bottom of the fifth inning to break the game open. Ironically, DelGuidice's first collegiate grand slam came nearly a year ago -- against Louisiana-Monroe on April 25.
Another blast, senior third baseman Sean Bukovich's first home run of the season, led off the eighth inning and accounted for the Owls' final run of the game.
FAU sophomore starting pitcher R.J. Alvarez improved to 6-3 on the season after scattering seven hits in five innings on the mound. He allowed one run and struck out three batters. Junior reliever Ahmed Garcia tossed 1.2 scoreless innings, while Mee logged 1.1 innings in relief before junior right hander Hugh Adams tossed a scoreless ninth inning to preserve the win.
Hodgskin suffered the loss for the Trojans, allowing four runs and five walks in four innings. The left hander drops to 2-4 on the season.
DelGuidice paced the offensive attack with four RBIs on two hits. Scheffler also tallied two hits while junior outfielder Alex Hudak, Gratton, Bukovich and Pittman rounded out the eight-hit attack.
Troy was led by Todd McRae's 4-for-4 outing. The Trojans tallied 11 hits on the afternoon. Tyler Hannah and Adam Bryant each had two hits to round out the multiple-hit performers.
Florida Atlantic, the defending Sun Belt Conference champions, outscored the Trojans 22-10 in the last two games of the series. DelGuidice had five hits in eight at-bats and drove home six runs in the two wins, and Sheffler had a successful return to the lineup from injury by going 4-for-8 in the last two games.
The Owls will return to the diamond on Friday, May 6, at Western Kentucky University, beginning at 7 p.m. Broadcast details of Friday's games can be found at www.fausports.com. Season and individual tickets of Florida Atlantic baseball are available by calling the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.