May 27, 2010
MURFREESBORO, TN - The Florida Atlantic University baseball team is quickly becoming the cardiac kids of the 2010 Sun Belt season. Despite holding a 10-4 lead in the eighth inning, FAU had to hold on to secure a 10-9 victory against South Alabama on day two of the Sun Belt Tournament at Reese Smith Jr. Field.
The win secures FAU a spot on championship Saturday regardless of what happens during tomorrow's games.
The Owls (35-20) got off to a great start when Raymond Church homered to lead off the game and gave FAU a 1-0 lead.
The Jaguars (32-26) battled back and scored two runs in the bottom half of the inning off starter Mike Gipson to give South Alabama 2-1 lead.
Gipson (8-1) did settle down however, and cruised through four straight scoreless innings before allowing two more runs in the sixth. The right-hander earned the win and pitched six innings while allowing four runs off six hits with three walks and six strikeouts.
FAU made their hay on offense in the third and fourth innings off South Alabama starter Lance Baxter. The Owls pushed across seven runs in those two innings and knocked Baxter out of the game in the fourth.
The Jaguars starter allowed eight runs off seven hits in just 3.1 innings pitched with three walks and six strikeouts.
Church and Andy Mee both finished the game with two hits and two RBI. Dan Scheffler also had an RBI double. Sean Bukovich added three hits and an RBI and Mike Albaladejo continued his hot streak with two more hits, two runs scored and an RBI.
After Gipson exited the game in the seventh, Lou Morey came on and worked around a pair of hits to pitch a scoreless frame.
In the eighth, Jason Boyer came on and struggled, loading the bases with nobody out. John McCormack then called on Taylor Everist. The sinkerball pitcher did exactly what the Owls needed, inducing three ground ball outs and limiting the damage to just two runs.
The Owls then took a 10-6 lead into the ninth and brought in set-up man Ryan Bernal. The right-hander struggled and got into a bases-loaded nobody out jam. However the fiery reliever worked out of it, and got Brent Tanner to pop up to third to end the game.
The Owls will be back in action on tomorrow when they face the winner of the elimination game between FIU and South Alabama. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. eastern from Reese Smith Jr. Field. The game can be heard live on www.fausports.com.