June 1, 2002
Another outstanding offensive output for Florida Atlantic University (45- 18) moves them to the NCAA Regional finals with a 12-6 win over Southeast Missouri State University (37-19). The squad is the only FAU team to advance to the finals of the regionals without a loss. Shaen O'Connor came off the bench to tie the game with a double and then give FAU a four-run lead with a two-run homer.
After collecting 16 hits Friday night the offense added another 14. FAU's three home runs brings their season total to 92. L.J. Biernbaum and Rusty Brown picked up the first two runs of the game when they hit their second back-to-back homers of the tournament. Florida Atlantic has had six back-to-back long balls this season.
"I wasn't trying to hit a home run," said first baseman Brown. "I was just trying to make something happen." Brown now has 10 homers this season.
Biernbaum, who is 7-for-10 in the tournament has hit three homers in two games.
SEMO picked up a run in the third and four in the fourth to take a short-lived lead. Starting pitcher Chris Pillsbury gave up a three-run shot to Eric Hoffman, which gave Southeast a 5-2 lead.
After the first three batters reached base and one unearned run crossed the plate in the fourth, Shaen O'Connor was inserted into the lineup for an injured Robert Orton. With runners at first and third, O'Conner delivered a double down the left line to pick up an RBI and advance Brown to third. The next batter, Derek Hutton then hit a fly ball to deep center field to score Brown and tie the game.
Florida Atlantic would take the lead back for good with two runs in the fifth. SEMO threatened in
the sixth when they posted another run to close the deficit to one.
Shane O'Connor would extinguish the hopes of the Indians as he hit a two-run homer in the seventh to put the game out of reach.
Chris Pillsbury (10-2) earned his first win since May 10 with six innings. The sophomore from Jacksonville, FL allowed six runs on six hits and four walks.
Head coach Kevin Cooney left Pillsbury in despite two wild pitches and three hit batters. "I'm just happy that we won. I was able to leave Chris in because I knew he can work through tough situations." He was able to get out of jams as SEMO left seven men on base in six innings.
FAU will play in the championship game on Saturday beginning at 3 pm. They will face the winner of the SEMO/Alabama game played Friday night. FAU will only need to win one game, but their opponent must win two in order to win the double elimination regional.
The baseball team advanced to the regional finals in 1999 with one loss. The squad lost the first game to Miami 3-2 to finish the season 54-9.