Nathan Pittman crouches by the side of FAU's dugout in the moments following the Owls' 5-4 extra-inning loss to Miami. (OwlAccess.com photo)
FAU can't hold onto late two-run lead, falls to Miami, 5-4 in 11 innings.
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BOCA RATON – Florida Atlantic had several chances to knock off the nationally-ranked Miami Hurricanes Wednesday night at FAU Stadium, including a 2-out, bases-loaded scenario in the ninth inning, but they just couldn’t pull it off.
The No. 20 Hurricanes, who trailed until the ninth inning, rallied to defeat the Owls 5-4 thanks to Brad Fieger’s 2-out RBI single in the 11th inning.
"It was extremely disappointing," FAU coach John McCormack said. ”“We had plenty of opportunities to win that game. If we want to go beyond winning a conference championship and getting into a Regional or Super Regional we have to win this game at home – there are no ifs ands or buts."
Leading by a run with a runner on and needing four outs to secure the victory, McCormack turned to senior closer Hugh Adams. One fastball later David Thompson connected for a 2-run home run to tie the game at 4 and eventually force extra innings.
“I tried to throw it outside and it just grooved back down the middle,” said Adams, who missed all of last season with an injury. “The kid put a good swing on it.”
In his first career start, Brandon Rhodes shined on the mound for the Owls. The freshman left-hander retired the first six batters he faced and struck out four. He allowed six hits, two runs, one walk and finished with four strikeouts.
Nathan Pittman got FAU on the board first in the second inning with a 2-out RBI double that scored Ricky Santiago. Tyler Rocklein added to the Owls’ lead with a 2-run home run in the fifth inning to put FAU up 3-0.
Miami would answer in the sixth inning when Chantz Mack cranked an RBI triple to right field to drive in Tyler Palmer. Mack would score on a wild pitch by Michael Sylvestri to bring the Hurricanes to within one run.
In the bottom of the inning, Santiago scored for the second time of the night on a Sean Murrell RBI single to give the Owls a two-run lead before Thompson’s 2-run home run forced extra innings.
Last season the Hurricanes swept the season series and have now won four straight against the Owls.
GameBrowser: Miami 5, FAU 4
Owl Star Performance: LHP Brandon Rhodes was solid in his first start. He allowed 6 hits, 2 earned runs, one walk and struck out four batters and came close to getting his first win.
Moving Forward: 3B Ricky Santiago went 2-for-5 and scored 2 runs … SS Mitch Morales went 3-for-4 …LF Tyler Rocklein, who struggled against Cincinnati recording just one hit on 13 at-bats, went 3-for-6 with two RBI and scored a run in the loss to Miami.
Moving Backward: After a huge weekend, RF Corey Keller struggled at the plate going 1-for-6 and struck-out once … C Mike Spano failed to get a hit on the night going 0-for-4.
Key stat: The Owls left 11 runners on base
Up Next: The Owls will host Alabama in the first of a three-game series beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m.