May 18, 2007
What was expected to be a high scoring game between the top two offensive teams in the Sun Belt Tournament turned into a pitcher's dual on Friday night. Florida Atlantic University blanked Florida International University 5-0 to secure a spot in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
"We have waited 54 games for a shutout and it couldn't have come in a more important game," said FAU Head Coach Kevin Cooney.
Chris Salberg (6-3) spearheaded the first shutout of the season for the Owls (34-20, 14-15 SBC) as he worked seven innings and only allowed four hits while striking out seven. The senior from Rockford, IL moved up the FAU season strikeout list and is now ranked fifth with 116 strikeouts on the year.
Mike Obradovich nailed down the game as he worked the final two innings and did not allow a hit.
FIU starter Corey Polizzano (4-8) held the FAU bats quiet and did not give up a hit until the third inning. After Daniel Cook started the inning he was erased on the base paths before Robbie Widlansky gave the Owls all the offense they would need with a solo homer to right field. The hit also gave the junior the total base record at FAU.
But it might have been Nick Arata's solo homer to start the seventh that was the most important hit of the inning. The sophomore's sixth homer of the year gave the Owls a little breathing room in a close contest.
After the FAU offense gained a comfortable lead, the rain came and caused a two hour delay. When the teams returned neither team picked up a hit.
Polizzano suffered the loss for FIU (26-28, 12-16 SBC) after seven innings of work in which he gave up five runs on nine hits and struck out five.
The final game of the regular season will take place on Saturday at 2 p.m. FAU will honor eight players before the contest for their dedication to the program; Chris Salberg, Justin Martin, Anthony Bradley, Brandon Cooney, Robbie Widlansky, Tyler Stevens, Joel Schmal and Andrew Tomlin.