May 22, 2010
BOCA RATON, FL - The Florida Atlantic University baseball team battled from behind on three separate occasions to defeat FIU 14-10 on Saturday afternoon. With the victory, the Owls, clinch the Sun Belt Conference regular-season title and the top seed in next week's Sun Belt Conference Tournament.
FAU erased leads of 1-0, 5-3 and 8-5 to earn their 18th come-from-behind victory of the season and win the series against FIU.
The Panthers (31-22, 17-13) scored one run in the second with the help of two errors and a passed ball by the FAU defense. In the third, Garrett Wittels extended his hitting streak to 48 games with an RBI double that scored Raiko Alfonso and gave FIU a 2-0 lead.
The Owls (33-20, 21-9) stormed back in the bottom half of the third with three runs of their own. After a walk and a hit batter gave FAU their first base runners of the afternoon, Raymond Church recorded the first FAU hit, a ringing double to right-center that scored two runs and tied the game at 2-2. Two batters later, Andy Mee recorded his 48th RBI of the season with a single up the middle to give FAU a 3-2 lead.
In the sixth, FIU answered with a three-spot of their own after two walks by starter R.J. Alvarez led to a three-run home run by Rudy Flores. The home run swung momentum back to the Panthers and gave the visiting team a 5-3 lead.
Antony Mesa responded for FAU in the bottom half of the inning, taking a 2-2 pitch to right field for a two-run home run which tied the game at 5-5.
For Mesa, it was his sixth home run of the season and second of the series. In the seventh, FIU struck again, this time off Ryan Bernal. The Panthers recorded two extra-base hits and scored three runs to take an 8-5 lead.
However, the Owls had their biggest rally of the day in the home half of the seventh and took the lead for good. The rally started with Andy Mee and Dan Scheffler working back-to-back walks. After two quick outs, Nathan Pittman grooved a 2-2 pitch over the wall in right-center to tie the game at 8-8.
After another walk and a hit by pitch, Raymond Church gave FAU the lead with an RBI single up the middle that scored Bukovich and put the Owls ahead 9-8. Mike Albaladejo and Andy Mee tacked on three more RBI to cap off a seven-run inning and give FAU a 12-8 lead.
The Owls tacked on two more runs in the eighth and Andy Mee recorded the final six outs to secure the victory.
The Owls will not be back in action until Wednesday when they play an opening round game in the 2010 Sun Belt Tournament in Murfreesboro, TN. Opponent and start times will be announced on Sunday. The game can be heard live on www.fausports.com.