May 4, 2012
Boca Raton, FL - Junior catcher Mike Spano's two-out, 10th-inning RBI single lifted the Florida Atlantic University baseball team to a 6-5 series-opening victory over Western Kentucky University on Friday night in exciting Sun Belt Conference action in Boca Raton. Senior outfielder Alex Hudak scored the game-winning run in the Owls' first extra-inning contest of the season.
FAU improves to 27-17 on the season and maintains a two-game lead atop the conference with a 15-5 league record.
Extra-inning games are nothing new for Florida Atlantic and WKU. The last two meetings between the teams have gone to extra innings, and three of the last six contests dating back to the 2010 Sun Belt Conference Championships.
Hudak started the 10th-inning rally by drawing a walk. Sophomore outfielder Geoff Jimenez followed with a single into left field to put Hudak into scoring position at second base. That's when Spano hit a two-strike pitch to left field and Hudak raced around to beat out the throw to home plate.
Spano was among four Owls that had multiple-hit efforts in the contest, which broke a two-game losing streak. Jimenez led the way with three hits, while senior infielder Mike Albaladejo joined junior first baseman Mark Nelson and Spano with two hits apiece in the victory. FAU had 11 hits in the victory.
Trailing 3-0 early in the contest, the Owls tied the game on three consecutive run-scoring singles by Jimenez, Spano and freshman shortstop Mitch Morales.
WKU (19-27, 9-13 Sun Belt) regained the lead on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Huck in the fourth inning.
Nelson's two-run single to right field in the fifth inning gave FAU a 5-4 lead. Albaladejo and junior outfielder Corey Keller scored on the base hit that gave the Owls their first lead of the game.
WKU's Ryan Hutchinson evened the game at 5-5 on a solo home run in the eighth inning. FAU's R.J. Alvarez picked up the win in relief, tossing two scoreless innings and recording four strikeouts. The junior improved to 5-0 on the season. Senior starting pitcher Ryan Garton received a no-decision after allowing four runs in the first six innings.
WKU's Taylor Haydel suffered the loss, falling to 4-4 on the season. The right hander tossed 3.2 innings. Hutchinson had two of the team's five hits in the contest.
The two teams will resume the weekend series on Saturday, May 5, at 4 p.m. from the FAU Baseball Stadium, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus. 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.