March 28, 2013
Boca Raton, FL - A key week in the spring season continues for the Florida Atlantic University baseball team with a three-game weekend series against Sun Belt Conference (SBC) co-leader University of South Alabama at the FAU Baseball Stadium, 777 Glades Road on the Boca Raton campus. The series begins Friday night, March 29, at 6:30 p.m. and continues on Saturday, March 30 at 4 p.m. and Sunday, March 31 at noon.
The Owls, 16-9 overall and 4-2 in SBC play, started the week with a 6-1 victory at the University of Miami on Wednesday, March 27. The defending conference regular-season champions have opened league play with series victories against FIU and Arkansas State University.
FAU is seeking its second win over a nationally ranked opponent this season. South Alabama enters the weekend series ranked 24th in the Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America polls. The team defeated No. 23-ranked Florida Gulf Coast University, 9-8, on March 26 in Boca Raton.
Sophomore shortstop Mitch Morales leads Florida Atlantic with a .345 batting average, and had three hits with two run scored at Miami. Junior catcher/designated hitter Levi Meyer has posted a .312 average, while senior outfielder Nathan Pittman is batting .307 with eight stolen bases. Adding punch to the lineup are senior first baseman Mark Nelson, with a team-high five home runs and 23 runs batted in, and junior outfielder Tyler Rocklein, with four homers, 18 RBI and a .303 batting average.
On the mound, sophomore left hander Austin Gomberhas anchored a rotation with a 2-1 record, a SBC-leading 1.37 earned run average (ERA) and 40 strikeouts this spring. He matched a career high with 10 strikeouts in a no-decision outing at Arkansas State on Saturday, March 23.
The Owls also have a strong relief pitching unit, which has posted nine victories and six saves - all by senior closer Hugh Adams. Freshman Brandon Rhodes stands 3-1 with a 2.42 ERA and has picked wins in relief during the past two games. Junior reliever Kevin Alexander has posted two wins, while senior Michael Sylvestriis 3-0 with a 1.45 ERA in eight pitching appearances. Adams holds the school career record with 19 saves.
South Alabama is 22-4 on the season and is tied atop the SBC standings with a 5-1 mark - one game ahead of the Owls. The Jaguars swept UALR last weekend after winning a road series at Troy University to open the league schedule. Jordan Patterson anchors the team's offensive attack with a .407 batting average and 27 RBI. Dustin Dalken has hit five of the team's 13 home runs. Cole Billingsley is hitting .327 and Nolan Earley tops on the team with 28 RBI. South Alabama's pitching staff has compiled a 3.88 ERA, with closer Kyle Bartsch posting six saves.
Live audio and statistics of this weekend's series will be available at www.fausports.com.
Single-game tickets for all home games are available by contacting the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.