May 22, 2003
Matt O'Brien (Royal Palm Beach, FL) came out of the bullpen for Florida Atlantic University and preserved a one-run as FAU defeated Gardner-Webb University 5-4 in the second round of the Atlantic Sun Tournament. The FAU pitching staff and offense came through in an elimination game for the number one seed in the tournament.
Randy Beam (Sarasota, FL) started the contest by retiring the first 11 batters before he gave up a hit to GWU's David Futrelle in the fourth inning. Meanwhile, the FAU offense posted five runs to give the First Team All-Conference pitcher a comfortable lead.
After struggling offensively in the first round of the tournament, the team posted three runs in the second inning. With men on first and second with two outs, Robert Orton (Wellington, FL) collected one of his two RBIs of the day with a single to right field. Evan Brannon (St. Petersburg, FL) then stepped to the plate to pick up two RBIs of his own with a double down the left field line to score Mike Murray (Boca Raton, FL) and Orton for a 3-0 lead.
Rob Horst (Gering, NE) scored on Orton's single in the fourth after he reached on a lead off double. Orton would score the fifth and final run for FAU in the game when Derek Hutton connected on a double off of the Bulldogs' starting pitcher, Joey Siak.
Siak (8-6) pitched 5 1/3 innings for the no. 5 seed Gardner-Webb. He struck out one, allowed 10 hits and gave up five earned runs as Gardner-Webb concluded its season with a 33-23 record.
Beam (13-1) worked into the seventh inning when he struggled and gave up four straight hits. The first a lead off home run to Futrelle. Ryan Quirello, Jay Bennett and Jim Glueckert then came through with three singles. Beam then recorded one of his four strikeouts before a sacrifice bunt by Chip Watts gave Gardner-Webb its second run. A two-run double by Jonathan McKoy brought the Bulldogs within one.
O'Brien then came out of the pen to end the GWU threat and closed out the game for his first save of the season. O'Brien only allowed one hit and struck out two as FAU improves to 45-13.
"(O'Brien) has been very consistent for us, especially the latter part of the season," said head coach Kevin Cooney. "I am proud of the job he has done for us the past two days."
Florida Atlantic will continue play in the A-Sun Tournament on Friday at 3:00 pm. The opponent has yet to be determined.