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The Comeback Kids

albaladejowku05-26-10Albaladejo's Three run blast Lifts Owls Over WKU 9-8 in 13th Inning

In the longest affair on the season, Mike Albaladejo’s three run shot in the bottom of the 13th inning lifted Florida Atlantic (34-20, 22-9) past Western Kentucky in the first round of the 2010 Sun Belt Tournament in Murfreesboro, TN.

It was a comeback for the "FAU baseball" ages.

“These guys are resilient, they’ve been resilient all year”, said Coach John McCormack. “I talked to the Sun Belt, and they were looking for a really good game to generate some more interest later in the tournament so we made it go thirteen.”

The Hilltoppers’ first and last innings would be their demise, as they committed five errors between the frames which accounted for six unearned runs.

Raymond Church singled to lead off the contest, but quickly moved to second after an error in the outfield. Mike Albaladejo and Andy Mee would then reach behind back to back infield errors. Nick Delguidice capped off the sequence with a two RBI double that scored Mee and Albaladejo and put FAU on top 3-0.

The Owls would add another in the third before WKU got on the board when Logan Robbins’ single scored Kes Carter in the fourth.

Ryan Garton threw six successful innings, giving up one run on four hits, while striking out three and walking four.

Western Kentucky (35-22, 16-15) was then quiet until the top of the eighth when Kevin Alexander, in relief of Garton, surrendered three hits in a row, cutting the lead to 5-2 and prompting McCormack to tap Ryan Bernal to stop the damage.

But Bernal immediately gave up a three-run homer to Robbins pulling the Hilltoppers even.

In the bottom of the eighth Eddie Cassidy connected on a solo blast to left field to put the Owls back on top 6-5.

“I personally thought that might have been game over”, Cassidy said.

And things did appear routine afterwards when Mee stepped in for the save in the ninth. But he struggled giving up a homerun, a single, and two walks before getting out of the frame.

Regardless, FAU had a golden opportunity to win it in the bottom of the inning, loading the bases with no one out. But Mee struck out and Dan Scheffler hit into a double play, paving the way for extra innings.

It would be deja vu in the twelfth when the Owls had the bases loaded with no outs again, only to come up empty handed for the second time.

"I was like, man, I don’t know how many times we can go to the well”, McCormack said. “I was thinking we have to play at 9:00 a.m. in the morning that’s going to be difficult”.

That opened the door for Western Kentucky to take its first lead at 8-6 in the top of the thirteenth.

Ironically, in a repeat of the first inning, WKU committed two infield errors in the bottom of the frame, placing Sean Bukovich and Joey Burkhalter on the bags and setting up the improbable comeback. Facing a 3-2 count, Albaladejo then drove the game winner out over the wall in walk off fashion.

“I just got it to 3-2, saw that fastball and gave it my best swing”, said Albaladejo. “As soon as I hit it I knew it had a chance.”

WKU has now lost six straight extra inning games.

Florida Atlantic will face South Alabama tomorrow at 5:00 p.m. with Mike Gipson on the mound for the Owls. During the regular season, FAU took two-of-three in Mobile, AL.

Box Score


FAU Audio Vault Post Game


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