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Series Thread - FAU vs FIU: May 19-21, 2011


Series Thread - FAU vs FIU: May 19-21, 2011

What:    Florida Atlantic (31-20, 16-11) at Florida International (35-16-1, 18-8-1)

When:   Thursday, May 19 at 7:00 p.m.
           Friday, May 20 at 6:00 p.m.
           Saturday, May 21 at 7:00 p.m.

Where:   FIU Baseball Stadium, Miami, FL

Projected Starting Pitching Match Up:

Thursday:  FAU - RHP Ryan Garton (5-3, 4.33 ERA, 48 K, 28 BB)
              FIU - LHP Phil Haig (8-3, 3.50 ERA, 59 K, 27 BB)

Friday:      FAU - RHP Paul Davis (9-1, 2.77 ERA, 60 K, 26 BB)
              FIU - LHP R.J. Fondon (5-4, 2.95 ERA, 48 K, 19 BB)

Saturday:  FAU - RHP R.J. Alvarez (6-4, 4.45 ERA, 60 K, 31 BB)
              FIU - TBA

Live audio and statistics of all three games @ FAU Sports.com

It will take a sweep and some serious help for the Owls to win the regular season Sun Belt crown, but it is still possible. Should Florida Atlantic blank the Panthers, South Alabama would need to take three as well from Troy - which is not likely the way the Trojans have been playing this season.

For now, the Owls are riding high on Tuesday's romp in the Gables where they took the Hurricanes at home 7-4 in a fight til the end. Miami had a chance to pull out some heroics in the ninth inning but FAU snuffed it out to walk away with a big win and the regular season series 2-1 over the nationally ranked Canes.

On Thursday it becomes all the more important to continue the trend. A three spot against FIU (ranked #24 by Baseball America) would be mighty fine, although a tough row to hoe given the Panther's 15-0-1 record in their last 16 games. Of note, the Owls are 4-2 against ranked opponents on the year (Miami 2, Troy 2) and an early start bodes them well having gone 14-2 when leading after the first inning.

Florida International claims the top spots in the Belt in both team batting (.313 AVG) and team pitching (3.52 ERA). The Panthers have three players in the league's top 15 hitters, with Pablo Bermudez's .385 average leading the way. Junior OF Mike Martinez's 12 cranks over the wall are good enough for a tie for the second spot in round-trippers.

FAU captured the season's earlier series meeting 2-1 at home in a high octane affair featuring 26 Owl runs, and knotted up the all-time series at 41 games each in the process.

Senior 1B Dan Scheffler is hitting .317 for Florida Atlantic since returning to the lineup from facial surgery.

Saturday's match-up will be televised live on the Sun Belt Network (CSS).

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Re: Series Thread - FAU vs FIU: May 19-21, 2011

Arent we really 6-3 vs ranked opponents if FIU is ranked #24?

Teambeer is the most knowledgeable FAU sports fan I know, way smarter than me.
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Re: Series Thread - FAU vs FIU: May 19-21, 2011

walty12 said

Arent we really 6-3 vs ranked opponents if FIU is ranked #24?

Not at the time we beat them they weren't…
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Re: Series Thread - FAU vs FIU: May 19-21, 2011

South Alabama did their part in keeping conference title hopes live tonight for FAU by dropping Troy 9-8 at home behind a walk-off homer in the ninth inning. However, a late Owls' rally couldn't close the gap as Florida Atlantic (31-21, 16-12) lost game one 9-7 to Florida International before a respectable group of Owl faithful who made the trek southward.

FAU used five pitchers in the affair which even saw outfielder Nathan Pittman see action on the hill.

After a lead-off walk in the bottom of the first, the Panthers (36-16-1, 19-8-1) wasted no time roughing up starter Ryan Garton (5-4) by swatting three straight doubles en route to a 3-0 advantage.

Dan Scheffler answered for FAU in the top of the second with a lead off homer to center. The Owls would load the bags with two outs before Andy Mee flied out leaving all three stranded.

With Garton already at 50 pitches, Rudy Flores’ double tacked on two more in the bottom of the frame for a 5-1 FIU lead before a two out RBI single by Mee in the top of the fourth scored Sean Bukovich to put the Owls within three.

Reliever Josh Gonzaga, who had encountered some rough patches as of late, came on for Garton (7H, 5ER, 3K) therafter and was effective in his first inning of work posting two strikeouts and allowing a hit.

Nick DelGuidice’s shallow fly ball in the fifth prompted Raymond Church to cross the plate thanks to a poorly thrown put-out attempt to home drawing FAU a 5-3 deficit.

But Gonzaga’s night ended just as quickly as it began in the fifth, as he tossed up hits on a platter (4) in addition to hitting and walking a batter. The result was two more runs by FIU, a 7-3 lead for the Panthers, and Coach John McCormack tapping Taylor Everist for mop up duty.

Taylor couldn't come through; giving up a two RBI single, and watching the deficit quickly grow to it's largest margin at 9-3 before securing the final out.

A bit of excitement occurred when DelGuidice drove a ball deep to the left field wall later in the seventh with two aboard in what appeared to be a home run, however the ball was caught.

In a surprise move, FAU went beyond deep into the pen in the bottom of the inning, bringing in usual outfielder Nathan Pittman for relief. Pittman had a short outing, lasting just two batters, before rarely used Mike Ruccio came on for the balance of the contest.

FAU entered their final at bat with serious charge, connecting for four runs on four hits off FIU reliever Jose Velazquez. The rally fell short though when replacement catcher Mike Spano hit into a double play to end the game.

Garret Wittels did not play for FIU due to suspension, and the Owls out-hit the Panthers 15-14 in the loss.

Alex Hudak got back to form after being blanked against Miami on Tuesday, posting a 3-for-5 performance with one RBI.
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Re: Series Thread - FAU vs FIU: May 19-21, 2011

Following a season long formula for success, the Owls scored first and led last, shutting out Florida International (36-17-1, 19-9-1) 2-0 and handing the Panthers their first loss since way back on April 15th (3-7 UL).

FIU, who out-hit the Owls 9-7, had their fair share of chances at scoring runs, but stranded nine runners throughout the game.

Paul Davis (10-1) was brilliant on the mound, going the full distance, striking out nine and scattering nine hits. Davis fanned FIU's Jabari Davis three times out of his four at bats, and long baller Mike Martinez twice; effectively dismantling the middle of the Panther's line-up.

But none of Davis' K's were as important as the last three, all in the bottom of the ninth, when FIU had the tying run at the plate on two occasions and the go ahead once.

Dan Scheffler drove in Florida Atlantic's (32-21, 17-12) 1st run in the top of the first inning, sending Colby Gratton across the plate.

Later in the third, it was Nick DelGuidice's turn, as the senior infielder's single would once again plate Gratton and set up the final score.

All in all, the Owls settled into the box for six free rides to first base from FIU's staff of R.J Fondon (L) and Jose Velazquez. Alex Hudak worked three for himself; the same amount Davis issued all evening.

Yoandy Barroso and Jeremy Patton each collected two hits for FIU, while Florida Atlantic saw no batters put forth multiple connections.

FAU's victory sets up a crucial rubber match tomorrow to be televised on the Sun Belt Network (CSS) at 7:00 p.m.

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Re: Series Thread - FAU vs FIU: May 19-21, 2011

Davis was insane last night. Not quite sure what Mac was thinking. 147 pitches? I wonder how his arm is feeling today.

Does Mac not have enough confidence in his pen that Davis' pitch count didn't matter?

My two favorite teams are FAU, and who ever is beating FIU!
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Re: Series Thread - FAU vs FIU: May 19-21, 2011

Florida Atlantic enjoyed a 13-11 advantage in hits, but left six runners in scoring position on the night, as Florida International walked away with game three and the series behind a 7-3 win in Miami on Saturday.

The Owls finish the 2011 regular season at 32-22 overall and 17-13 in league play.

Mike Martinez’s shot off the top of the score board in left field put the Panthers (37-17-1, 20-9-1) on top 3-0 in the bottom of the first inning.

They would double the margin later in the third as R.J. Alvarez struggled with control, putting two balls in the dirt past catcher Mike Albaladejo for runs, and allowing another on an RBI single by Yoandy Barroso.

Alvarez (4IP, 6ER, 7K) would enjoy his best frame in the fourth, making it out unscathed, before being pulled thereafter for Ahmed Garcia.

Garcia got his first two outs of the fifth in easy fashion, then began to mix up his motion with a radical pause in the middle of his windup. The result was three straight Panther hits and a 7-0 deficit.

Four hits from the Owls in the sixth chased FIU starter Daniel DeSimone from the mound for Christian Marlborough, but not before FAU posted their first runs of the game.

Dan Scheffler’ single and Alex Hudak’s double set up Nick DelGuidice’s fielder’s choice which allowed Scheffler to come home. Albaladejo later connected for a single as well to plate Hudak and make it 7-2 in favor of the home team.

After a one-two-three performance from Garcia set the Panthers down in the bottom of the sixth, the Owls pulled off a rarely seen double steal in the seventh. Hudak followed with his second hit, an RBI single that brought in Gratton for the final FAU run.

Andy Mee took to the hill for Garcia in the bottom of the inning with one out, finishing out the affair facing six batters and striking out three.

Albaladejo, Sean Bukovich, Raymond Church, Gratton, and Hudak each had two hits in the loss.

FAU next heads to Monroe Louisiana for the 2011 Sun Belt Tournament where they will be the number five seed, and face Western Kentucky (4th seed) on Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. central time.

The Owls dropped the 2011 regular season series to the Hilltoppers 1-2 earlier in May, posting just 10 runs over the three game span.

Championship Line-up

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