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Series Thread: Western Kentucky @ FAU - May 4-6, 2012


Series Thread: Western Kentucky @ FAU - May 4-6, 2012

What: † † †Western Kentucky (19-26, 9-12) at Florida Atlantic (26-17, 14-5)

When: † † †Fri, †May 4th at 6:30 PM
† † † † † † † Sat, May 5th at 4:00 PM
† † † † † † † Sun, May 6th at 12:30 PM

Where: † † FAU Baseball Stadium

Live Stats †Here

Series: † † †Florida Atlantic leads 12-8 in the all-time series.

Projected Starting Pitchers:

Friday: † † †FAU - RHP Ryan Garton (8-2, 2.75 ERA)
† † † † † † † WKU - LHP Austin Clay (3-4, 4.67 ERA)

Saturday: †FAU - RHP Kevin Alexander (4-0, 2.80 ERA)
† † † † † † † WKU - LHP Tim Bado (4-4, 3.69 ERA)

Sunday: † †FAU - LHP Austin Gomber (3-3, 3.56 ERA)
† † † † † † † WKU - RHP Justin Hageman (2-5, 6.17 ERA)

Despite dropping last weekend's series to Troy (7-3, 4-6, 0-9), Florida Atlantic still has a two game advantage in the Sun Belt race.

Being outscored 15-4 in the final two contests, there wasn't too much in the way of highlight reel material to be found offensively. But Alex Hudak showed signs of his former self at 5-of-10 to lead the team in hitting efficiency, after slowly working back into a starting role in the outfield.

2B/C Mike Albaladejo continues to pace the squad overall with a .359 clip, and is tied with fellow teammate Mike Spano for the longest hitting streak at play - nine games.

Off the field, senior reliever Ahmed Garcia received his diploma in Florida Atlantic's commencement ceremony last Thursday. The lefty has been nominated for a NCAA graduate scholarship, but has his sights set on attending neighboring Florida International University due to program availability. Baseball however is not forecast to be in the plans, so don't expect to see him tossing against the Owls down the line.

The Hilltoppers were riding high on the hog emotionally having knocked off #18 Louisville 8-1 on Tuesday night at neutral site Bowling Green Ballpark. With the contest deadlocked at one each through five complete innings, WKU plated seven runs over the span of the sixth and seventh frames for arguably their best win of the year.

The win came on the heels of a disappointing 1-2 series performance against Louisiana-Monroe over the weekend. After a 14-6 drubbing by the Warhawks on Friday, the teams battled it out in extra innings for the last pair, with WKU picking up a 7-6 victory in 10 innings on Saturday, before falling in an inverse tally (6-7) on Sunday in 11 frames.

That didn't stop outfielder Ryan Hutchison from leaving his mark though, as the senior picked up SBC Player of the Week after posting a 7-for-14 showing and a team best 6 RBI during the span. Hutchison currently leads Western Kentucky with 40 RBI.

Last time on the diamond, the Hilltoppers took out the Owls 11-10 (12) at the 2011 Sun Belt Tournament.

They wouldn't have far to travel for this year's showdown, as Bowling Green will serve as host city for 2012. But they do need to make some progress in the standings while locked in a three way tie for the 8th and final spot.

Games have been close for the Hilltoppers as of late, with four of their last six outings going into extra innings.

Florida Atlantic will finish out the 2012 slate with 7-of-10 games in Boca Raton, where they have 6-1 record in conference games, and are 15-8 overall.

Of note, the team is 24-0 when leading after seven innings.

WKU currently sits last in Sun Belt team hitting with a .259 mark to that of .287 showing (3rd) for the Owls. On the mound, they are giving up just over a half a run with a combined ERA of 4.96 to Florida Atlantic's 4.38 effort; which is also good for third place.

Weather for the weekend is looking good, with only a slight chance of rain on Friday and clear sailing therafter.
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Re: Series Thread: Western Kentucky @ FAU - May 4-6, 2012

Game One


WKU 5 †FAU 6

Mike Spanoís tenth inning walk off single sealed a 6-5 game one win for the Owls on Friday night at FAU baseball Stadium.

It was the first extra inning contest for Florida Atlantic on the 2012 season.

Western Kentucky (19-27, 9-13) netted a run in the first inning before taking a 3-0 lead in the second behind a two run shot off the bat of Steve Hodgins.

Hilltopper starter Austin Clay would walk the first two Owls he faced in their trip to the plate though, setting up a three score answer by FAU as Geoff Jimenez (3-of-4), Spano (photo) and Mitch Morales each connected for RBI singles to make it a 3-3 affair thereafter.

Ryan Huckís sac fly in the third put WKU back on top 4-3, after driving in 2B Scott Wilcox from third base.

But Florida Atlantic (27-17, 15-5) answered again with two runs in the bottom of the fifth to retake the lead 5-4 courtesy of a 2 RBI single from 1B Mark Nelson that brought home Corey Keller and Mike Albaladejo (2-for-5).

With Ryan Garton (6IP, 4H, 4ER, 3K) heading to the dugout for the night, Ahmed Garcia took the mound for the seventh and eighth innings in middle relief for the Owls.

Garcia retired five straight before offering up a favorable pitch to Ryan Hutchison, who sent the second homer over the wall for WKU, and tied the contest again at 5-5.

With neither team able to mount an offensive in the ninth, the contest headed into extra innings.

Down 0-2 in the count, with two outs in the tenth, Spano (2-for-4, 2RBI) drilled the next pitch he was delivered into left, sending in Alex Hudak from second base for the deciding run.

R.J. Alvarez (5-0) got the win for the Owls, tossing the final two frames while striking out four of the seven batters he faced.

Florida Atlantic out hit Western Kentucky 11-5 for the tilt, but left seven stranded prior to the 10th.

Game two will begin at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday.
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Re: Series Thread: Western Kentucky @ FAU - May 4-6, 2012

Game Two


WKU 0 †FAU 6

Extra innings werenít needed on Saturday, as the Owls scored most of their runs early to win it 6-0 over the Hilltoppers and secure at least a series victory.

Starter Kevin Alexander (5-0) threw six solid innings giving up just four hits, while striking out four.

Mark Nelsonís sac fly plated Mike Albaladejo to put the Owls up 1-0 in the first inning.

The Owls (28-17, 16-5) added a pair of runs in each of their next two at bats, increasing the lead to 5-0 and sending WKUís Tim Bado (3IP, 5H, 5R, 3K) to the dugout.

Mitch Morales doubled to right to drive in Mike Spano before Albaladejo returned earlier favor with a sac fly of his own, scoring Dylan Seigel for the first two scores.

Corey Keller connected on his team leading seventh homer of the year for the first score in the third. Mark nelson found his way aboard via a double before eventually coming in off a balk issued by Bado, who dropped the ball on his delivery.

After four straight scoreless frames, Spano gave Florida Atlantic an insurance run in the bottom of the 8th, plating Keller from second base with a single into center field.

Western Kentucky (19-28, 9-14) managed just six hits on the afternoon, with none being for extra bases.

Kenny Sharp tossed a hitless seventh inning in relief of Alexander, and Bo Logan threw the final two, allowing only one hit and striking out a pair to end the contest.

Keller and Kyle Newton notched the Owls multi-hit performances, going 2-of-3, and 2-of-4 respectively.

The series wraps up on Sunday at 12:30 p.m. with FAU seeking its third Sun Belt sweep on the year.
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Re: Series Thread: Western Kentucky @ FAU - May 4-6, 2012

Game Three


WKU 6 †FAU 1

Western Kentuckyís Justin Hageman (3-5) held the Owls bats in check on Sunday, allowing the Hilltoppers to take game three 6-1 at FAU Baseball Stadium.

The right hander tossed 7.2 innings, allowing just one run off five hits.

Florida Atlantic (28-18, 16-6) fell behind in the third inning as Devin Kellyís two-run single completed a 3-0 spree that was aided by a Mitch Morales throwing error at short stop.

WKU would get another in the fourth, increasing the margin to 4-0, as Austin Gomber placed lead off batter Ryan Messex on board via a walk, and Morales committed his second error allowing him to cross home.

Robert Buckley finally got the home team on the board with an RBI single in the fifth, plating Geoff Jimenez (2-of-4), but that was all the scoring the Owls would see on the afternoon.

The Hilltoppers (20-28, 10-14) posted a run in both the sixth and seventh innings to round out the final tally.

Austin Gomber took the loss to drop to 3-4 on the year, while surrendering just one earned run off five hits in 3.2 innings before giving way to the bull pen.

The Owls will close out the non-conference portion of their 2012 schedule at home on Tuesday night against Florida Gulf Coast. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
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