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Series Thread: FAU @ Arkansas-Little Rock - May 11-13, 2012

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Series Thread: FAU @ Arkansas-Little Rock - May 11-13, 2012

What: † †Florida Atlantic (28-18, 16-6) at Arkansas-Little Rock (24-24, 10-14)

When: † †Fri, May 11 at 7:00 p.m.
† † † † † † Sat, May 12 at 5:00 p.m.
† † † † † † Sun, May 13 at 2:00 p.m.

Where: †Gary Hogan Field

Audio & Stats: Here

Video: † †Trojans PPV

The Series: Currently tied at seven games each. The Trojans won the last meeting 5-3 at the 2011 SBC Tournament.

Projected Starting Pitchers:

Friday: † † †FAU - RHP Ryan Garton (8-2, 3.01 ERA)
† † † † † † † UALR - RHP Chance Cleveland (8-3, 3.73 ERA)

Saturday: †FAU - RHP Kevin Alexander (5-0, 2.40 ERA)
† † † † † † † UALR - RHP Blake Huffman (4-3, 6.38 ERA)

Sunday: † †FAU - LHP Austin Gomber (3-4, 3.48 ERA)
† † † † † † † UALR - TBA

"Rain, rain, go away! Come again some other day."

The Owls home contest versus Florida Gulf Coast scheduled for Tuesday night first was bumped by a Presidential visit causing an early road trip, then was bumped permanently by the elements. That makes three lost contests for 2012, and this one could have played a part in building the cause for post season play with the non-conference mark needing some attention.

But it was not to be. So, the team now turns their eyes to the last six games - all league affairs - while looking to close out 2012 regular season play on a strong note. Motivating factor: just a single game lead over Arkansas State in the standings.

The Trojans are leading the way in Sun Belt team hitting behind a solid .293 average.

Outfielders Sean Bignall (.356) and Cameron Bentley (.351) lead a UALR lineup that has five players swatting .300 or better. Bignall has a flavor for the long ball, and a firm command on the top spot in the SBC in that category with 18 jacks for 2012. Bentley on the other hand seems to favor the two-bagger, sitting tied for third with 16 on the season.

Ironically, it was Bentley who helped bail the squad out in a 9-8 extra inning win over Central Arkansas on Tuesday night. Trailing 7-3, the Trojans netted five runs in the bottom half of the sixth, capped off by Bentley's three run shot over the wall to get back into the game before winning it in the 10th inning.

The Trojans have wheels as well, and own a commanding mark in free bases with 105. But there is always a balancer, and that would be found on the mound in the form of a league worst 5.94 team ERA.

Translation, you will have to pitch well to beat them, but could always make up at the plate if a few runs get in that shouldn't have.

For the Owls, after smacking his seventh home run of the year in game two against the Hilltoppers last weekend, outfielder Corey Keller (photo) is leading the way in round-trippers having surpassed both Kyle Newton and Mark Nelson. The junior takes slugging percentage with a .486 mark as well, while tying Newton for total bases (84) on the season.

After posting a 2-1 weekend mark against the Hilltoppers, the team has now secured seven league series on the year, dropping only one at the hands of Troy. The seventh inning continues to be a road marker for the Owls' making the win column, having now bettered their success rate to 26-0 when ahead.

This weekend's road trip to Little Rock marks only the second time that FAU has played at Gary Hogan Field, where UALR has a 13-7 record on the year. The Owls are 8-4 away from Boca Raton.

Florida Atlantic's bull pen has notched 13 saves on the year, good enough for second place showing against Sun Belt members collectively. Junior R.J. Alvarez (0.57 ERA) accounts for seven of those, tying Kevin Alexander with a perfect mark of 5-0 overall.
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Re: Series Thread: FAU @ Arkansas-Little Rock - May 11-13, 2012

Game One



Florida Atlantic out-hit Arkansas-Little Rock 5-4 in a well tossed game on Friday, but the Trojans made the most of theirs for a 4-1 win in game one.

The loss allowed Arkansas State to pull even in the Sun Belt standings, as the Red Wolves knocked off FIU 7-4.

Ryan Garton struck out five of the first nine batters he faced, although not before Trojan 1B John Clark broke a scoreless affair in the bottom of the third, connecting for a home run to right and giving the home team a 1-0 lead.

The Owls (28-19, 16-7) threatened in the top of the fifth, with Corey Keller facing a full count and runners on the corners in Mitch Morales and Mike Albaladejo. But Keller watched a slider skim the inside corner, effectively ending the side.

Placing five straight on base with two outs, the Trojans got to Garton (4.2IP, 4H, 4ER, 8K) in the bottom half of the inning for a 4-0 lead, tacking on three more runs.

After a successful double steal, Sean Bignall singled in the first two before later being brought in by a single bagger himself.

FAU went to the pen for the last out, tapping lefty Bo Logan for the chore.

Back-to-back walks to start the sixth would send UALR starter Chance Cleveland to the dugout, with the Owls eventually loading the bases with no outs. However, they failed to cash in again, leaving their ninth runner stranded for the game in the process.

More of the same would be on hand in the seventh, as FAU placed runners on second and third with two outs courtesy of a passed ball, only to see their turn end without a run.

Alex Hudak (2-of-4) accounted for Florida Atlanticís lone score later in the eighth. Reaching base via a lead-off double, Hudak would advance to third via a fielding error before being driven home by Morales single thereafter.

Logan was solid in relief for the Owls, retiring all 10 Trojan batters he faced, while posting six strike outs.

UALR (25-24, 11-14) committed three errors on the night, but was able to stay away from possible scoring troubles on all of them.

The teams will meet again tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. for game two.
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Re: Series Thread: FAU @ Arkansas-Little Rock - May 11-13, 2012

Game Two



Florida Atlanticís run production continued to struggle on Saturday, as the Owls fell 9-2 to the Trojans in game two.

UALR (26-14, 12-14) plated five runs over the course of their last two trips to the plate.

FAU scored first with a solo effort in the top of the third as Mike Albaladejo (2-of-4) drove in LF Nathan Pittman, who had doubled to right prior.

Arkansas-Little Rock answered with a run in the bottom of the inning to notch matters up and later took a 3-1 lead in the fifth, adding two more off a trio of singles sandwiched around a throwing error from FAU SS Mitch Morales.

Down 4-1 in the seventh, Florida Atlantic (28-20, 16-8) got to within striking distance after Geoff Jimenez pushed a ball deep enough into center to bring home a waiting Kyle Newton at third, making is a two run affair.

But struggles from the bull pen resulted in a strong offensive close for the Trojans.

Greg Bennis surrendered a three run shot to catcher Blake Johnson in the latter half of the seventh inning.

UALR would then net another pair in the eighth as Brett Nizamoff walked two and allowed a double before giving a bases loaded situation over to Jake Meiers. An immediate single thereafter made it 8-2 before a wild pitch from Meiers allowed the last run to score.

The Trojans outpaced FAU 13-6 in hits overall, with four players seeing multiple hit efforts.

Kevin Alexander (6 IP, 7H 2ER) took the loss for Florida Atlantic, his first on the year.

The Owls will look to salvage a win out of the series on Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

With Arkansas State losing to FIU as well on Saturday, the two squads remain deadlocked in a battle for first place in the Sun Belt standings.
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Re: Series Thread: FAU @ Arkansas-Little Rock - May 11-13, 2012

Game Three


FAU 12 †UALR 8

The bats came alive on Sunday as the Owls avoided their fist sweep in the year with a 12-8 win over Arkansas-Little Rock (26-15, 12-15).

The win also snapped a three game losing streak, and put Florida Atlantic back into sole possession of first place in the Sun Belt race, with Arkansas State being run-ruled by FIU 16-5.

A six run first inning would seemingly set up a win without any concerns, as FAU pounded out the half dozen off four hits, and sent Trojan starter Cameron Allen packing after only 2/3 of an inning.

Kyle Newton drove in Mike Albaladejo for the first run before Mark Nelsonís double would plate another pair. Nathan Pittmanís bases loaded walk made it 4-0 before Albaladejo came back around again, this time a 2 RBI double to complete the stint.

However the Owls found themselves behind again in the bottom of the fourth. Austin Gomber (3.2 IP, 5H, 5ER, 3K) retired two of the first three batters he faced, before placing himself in a world of trouble with two outs by tossing a wild pitch, surrendering three hits and a walking a batter.

Michael Sylvestri took the hill in place of Gomber, but when it was all said and done the score was 8-6 in favor of the Trojans.

Pittman (photo) pulled Florida Atlantic (29-20, 17-8) out of the hole though, evening the contest at 8-8 with his two run shot that gave the squad an emotional boost.

It worked, with two more runs coming in both the seventh and ninth innings for the win.

Dylan Seigel (4-of-4, RBI) drove in Nelson before a Pittman sac fly allowed Corey Keller to cross in the seventh, and Hudak drove in Albaladejo prior to Mitch Morales scoring via a fielding error in the ninth.

FAU was just one hit shy of their Season high with 15, eclipsing their totals in games one and two combined and then some.

Sylvestri (1-2) picked up his first win of the year going 3.1 innings and giving up three runs on three hits. R.J. Alvarez threw two innings in relief, picking up his eighth save.

Sean Bignall was 2-for-4, with three RBI, to pace the Trojans who used six different pitchers on the afternoon.

The team will next wrap up the 2012 regular season with a three game home series against southern rival Florida International. Game one will be on Thursday with the first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
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