May 18, 2002
Florida Atlantic University played their final home game of the year as they hosted Georgia State University in a doubleheader and honored nine seniors. The seniors and spectators got their monies worth as a seven inning contest turned into 11 in game one as GSU pulled out a 5-4 win. FAU dominated game two to split the doubleheader with an 11-4 victory. The split secures FAU a second place seed in the conference tournament and a 40-16, 22-8 A-Sun record. GSU falls to 24-32, 13-17 A-Sun
Game one saw FAU pitcher Chris Pillsbury give up an early run to GSU in the second after a lead off double by Rusty Bennett. Bennett was able to score when Garrett Greer hit a double of his own to score the first run of the game.
Jeff Fiorentino answered back in the bottom of the second with a two-run home run, his tenth of the season to put FAU on top 2-1.
But Georgia State hung around just like they did Friday night as they scored an unearned run in the third. With a runner on first, Josh Vandiver singled to right field. FAU's right fielder L.J., Biernbaum tried to throw out Sean Burroughs at second but the throw got away and rolled into left field. Burroughs made his way home to tie up the game at two.
The game looked to be sealed as Florida Atlantic scored in the bottom of the sixth of the seven inning game. Biernbaum reached first after being hit by a pitch and then advanced to third on an error during a run down on his way to second. Biernbaum again lucked out as Rusty Brown hit a routine ground ball to third as Biernbaum broke for home. The GSU third baseman threw home to put Biernbaum in a run down for the second time in the inning but a wide throw by the catcher, Gareer Greer allowed Biernbaum to score the go-ahead run.
Florida Atlantic brought in their closer Tim McNab. The senior was not able to earn the save as he gave up two singles with two outs to allow Georgia State to tie it at three.
The teams battled back and forth as zeroes were posted on the board until the 11th inning. With one out, GSU's Dustin Phillips reached after being hit by a pitch from FAU reliever Chris Della Rocco. He would then score the go-ahead run when the next batter, Kevin Kawasaki doubled to record his fourth hit of the game. Kawasaki would score when Clint Mize doubled to left field.
With Georgia State up by two runs FAU battled back as Rusty Brown led off with a double to start the 11th. Matt Pali would reach on an error and move Brown over to third. But Brett Strickland would get out of the jam as Jeff Fiorentino grounded into a double play. Brown would score a run but more importantly the Panthers recorded two outs. Strickland would strike out the final batter of the game to receive his seventh save of the season. FAU would be out hit in the contest 16-6.
David Hawkins improved to 8-7 after working 10 innings. The senior struck out five, walked two and threw 145 pitches, all after putting in one inning last night.
Florida Atlantic dominated game two as they posted six runs in the third inning. The Panther pitching staff struggled giving up six base hits and walking in two runs.
Senior, Bobby Spano led the team with a 3-for-3 performance and tallied three RBI in his final performance at FAU Stadium.
Travis NeSmith improved to 7-2 after pitching five innings,striking out three and allowing seven hits.
Florida Atlantic University will play Wednesday in the Atlantic Sun Tournament. The team will play No. 5 seed Jacksonville University. The tournament will be played in Deland, FL and game times have yet to be decided.