Atlantic Sun conference leader Florida Gulf Coast scored eight runs in two innings en route to an 8-5 win over FAU tonight in Boca Raton.
The teams finish the season with a win each after having faced off twice in mid week affairs. The Owls won the previous meeting 4-3 in a ten inning contest at Swanson Stadium.
Florida Atlantic (31-18, 19-8) got to Eagles’ starter Jacob Barnes early taking a 3-0 lead after two innings of play thanks to homeruns by Raymond Church and Chase Vergason.
It was Vergason’s first on the season.
Jason Alexander would toss three strong innings for FAU, but struggled with control in the fourth walking two and giving up three hits as FGCU (32-16, 20-4) moved ahead 4-3.
“He lost his cool”, said coach John McCormack. “Gave up the hit on the change-up and couldn’t get it back.”
The lead would be short lived however, as left fielder Nathan Pittman’s solo blast evened the score.
McCormack tapped righty Hugh Adams to take over in the fifth for FAU but he surrendered two-run homers to Tim Roberson and Zach Maxfield, allowing the Eagles to take a commanding 8-4 lead.
“Hugh came in and he had nothing”, McCormack said. “He’s pitched really well the last month and a half of the season, (but) his fastball had no velocity on it.”
The Owls picked up their final run the bottom of the inning when David Cassidy drove in Andy Mee from second.
Sidearm captain Lou Morey took the hill for FAU in the sixth, holding the Eagles’ offense to just three hits, with four strikeouts, in four scoreless innings of work.
Down 8-5 in the bottom of the ninth the Owls would face FGCU ace Chris Sale.
Church started things off with a single to right field, but the threat was ended as Mike Albaladejo hit into an ensuing double play, and Mee then grounded out to end the game.
Adams (3-1) took the loss for the Owls, while Patrick Nathanson (5-3) earned the win the Eagles.
Florida Atlantic will take on the #5 Florida Gators tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. in Gainesville.
The Owls defeated the Gators last season for their only win over a ranked opponent.