May 21, 2011
Boca Raton, Fla. - The Florida Atlantic University baseball team will be the fifth seed in next week's Sun Belt Conference tournament after dropping the regular-season finale 7-3 to FIU on Saturday night at the FIU Baseball Stadium in Miami, Fla.
The Owls will enter the postseason with a 32-22 record overall and a 17-13 mark in league action. The host Golden Panthers improved to 37-17-1 on the season with a 20-9-1 conference mark.
FIU jumped out early on a three-run first inning home run by Mike Martinez. The Golden Panthers added to their lead with a three-run third inning. Yoandy Barroso hit a ground ball through the right side of the infield for the only base hit that scored a run.
The host built a 7-0 advantage on another Barroso base hit to plate Jose Behar with two outs in the fifth inning.
The Owls got on the scoreboard in the sixth inning as senior shortstop Nick DelGuidice's RBI groundout scored senior first baseman Dan Scheffler. Junior catcher Mike Albaladejo singled home junior outfielder Alex Hudak later in the frame.
FAU cut the deficit to the game's final score in the seventh inning on a RBI single by Hudak to left field to plate senior outfielder Colby Gratton.
FIU starting pitcher Daniel DeSimone scattered nine hits in picking up his fifth victory on the season. The right hander allowed two earned runs in 5.2 innings. T.J. Shantz, Behar and Barroso each tallied two of the 11-hit offensive attack for the Golden Panthers. Mike Martinez had three RBIs and Rudy Flores scored two runs.
FAU's 13 hits were spread across eight players. Gratton, Church, Hudak and senior third baseman Sean Bukovich tallied two hits each.
Hudak's 2-for-5 performance raised his batting average to .379, the top mark in the Sun Belt Conference in the regular-season.
Sophomore starting pitcher R.J. Alvarez suffered the loss, allowing six runs in four innings. The right hander drops to 6-5 on the season.
The losing team in each game of the series had more hits than the victor.
Florida Atlantic will begin the conference tournament on Wednesday, May 25, against fourth seeded Western Kentucky University. First pitch is scheduled for noon from Monroe, La. Also included in FAU's four-team pool is top-seeded Troy University and eight seed University of Arkansas-Little Rock.
Broadcast details of postseason action can be found at www.fausports.com.