The Sun Belt title is one victory away.
FAU defeated Sun Belt Conference rival FIU in the first game of a three game home stand by a score of 12-2. Another FAU victory in its final two games or an ASU loss would clinch the championship and the No.1 seed in the tournament.
The Owls starter Ryan Garton pitched a gem against the Panthers. The only run he allowed came on a solo home run in the 3rd inning by FIU second baseman Oscar Aguirre. Garton received the victory for FAU as he pitched seven complete innings, giving up only one run on five hits with two strikeouts. The victory brings Garton’s record on the season to an impressive 8-2 with a 2.75 ERA.
The Owls were equally as impressive on offense as the team scored six runs in the 1st inning off FIU starting pitcher Eddy Piderman. The first two runs of the game for FAU were scored by DH Alex Hudak who hit a two run homer to right field with Mike Albaladejo on base. FIU starting pitcher Piderman
would be pulled from the game after the 1st inning as he proceeded to give up four more runs to FAU. After one inning Piderman would give up six runs on seven hits, including a two run home run to Hudak.
After the first inning of play FAU had a commanding 6-0 lead which they would never relinquish. The Owls would add to their six run lead in the fourth inning as Albaladejo would score from third base on an FIU fielding error. Third baseman Kyle Newton would drive in FAUs eighth run of the game on an RBI single that would bring short stop Mitch Morales around to score from third base.
FIUs poor fielding would cost them another run in the 5th inning as FAU as left fielder Nathan Pittman would step to the plate with one out and center fielder Geoff Jimenez on at first base. Pittman would drive a single to left field that advanced Jimenez to second base, however a fielding error by the FIU third baseman Mike Martinez would allow Jimenez to score from third base bringing giving FAU a lead of 9-1 after 5 innings of play.
The Owls would add three more runs in the 6th inning as 1st baseman Mark Nelson would step to the plate with Hudak at 3rd base and Newton at first. Nelson would belt an RBI double down the 3rd baseline bringing around Hudak to score, and bringing Newton to third base. A wild pitch from FIU reliever Jose Lazaro would allow Newton to score from third base, and for Nelson to advance to third. FAU would score their final run of the game as Jimenez would hit an RBI single up the middle bringing Nelson around to score from third base.
With the win FAU improves their record to 30-20 on the season, and 18-8 within the Sun Belt Conference.
FAU continues the series against FIU on Friday May 18 at 6:30 p.m.