May 8, 2011
Bowling Green, Ky. - A ninth inning rally by the Florida Atlantic University baseball team fell short as it dropped a 5-4 decision in Sunday's series finale to Western Kentucky University at Nick Denes Field in Bowling Green, Ky. The Owls scored one run and stranded the game-tying run on the base paths in the final at-bat.
FAU falls to 27-19 on the season and 14-10 in Sun Belt Conference play. Western Kentucky improves to 29-19 overall and also stands 14-10 in league action. The Owls return to the diamond on Tuesday, May 10, when they travel to Florida Gulf Coast University, beginning at 6 p.m.
Despite the loss the Owls have qualified for the Sun Belt Conference tournament, set for May 25-28 in Monroe, La.
The host Hilltoppers broke a 3-3 deadlock on a two-out two-run single by Ivan Hartle in the seventh inning.
FAU scored its run in the ninth inning on a sacrifice fly by senior outfielder Andy Mee that plated freshman Geoff Jimenez. Jimenez entered as a pinch-runner after sophomore pinch-hitter Mike Spano reached on an infield single. Junior catcher Mike Albaladejo lined a single to left-center field to move Jimenez to third base with one out. However, sophomore outfielder Nathan Pittman struck out to end the game as WKU reliever Brian Edelen tossed the last five innings to preserve the win.
The Owls battled back after trailing 3-1 in the third inning when senior first baseman Dan Scheffler connected on his third home run of the season to left field in the fourth inning. FAU evened the game at three apiece after junior outfielder Alex Hudak also hit his third home run on the season with a leadoff blast in the sixth inning.
FAU scored first in a game for the third time of the weekend on a single by Pittman to left field to plate Albaladejo in the third inning.
WKU answered with a three-run third inning to grab a 3-1 lead. Matt Rice lined a bases loaded single to plate Jordan Cessna. Jared Andreoli scored on a wild pitch while Kes Carter had an RBI groundout to plate Hartle.
Edelen improved to 5-1 on the season with the strong relief pitching performance. The right hander struck out seven batters and scattered two hits.
FAU starting pitcher R.J. Alvarez received a no-decision, allowing three runs in 3.2 innings. Junior reliever Ahmed Garcia allowed one base hit in his 1.1 innings. Mee suffered the loss to drop to 0-2 on the season allowing the Hartle two-run single in the sixth inning.
Albaladejo paced the 10-hit offensive attack with two hits. Senior second baseman Raymond Church, senior third baseman Sean Bukovich, senior outfielder Colby Gratton, Hudak, Pittman, Spano and Scheffler each had one hit apiece. The Owls out-hit the Hilltoppers 10-7 in the rubber match of the series.
Seven players tallied a base hit for WKU, led by Hartle's two RBIs.
Broadcast details of Tuesday's game 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.