Jake Meiers allowed four runs in five innings to take the loss on Saturday against Alabama. (OwlAccess.com photo)
In a funk
FAU can't find big hit in 4-2 loss to Alabama.
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BOCA RATON – Having watched Florida Atlantic lose its third straight game, FAU coach John McCormack realizes his Owls are in a funk.
FAU has struggled to get timely hits against Alabama and couldn't complete a ninth-inning rally in a 4-2 loss to the Crimson Tide.
“We just can't get that second or third hit, McCormack said. “We can't get that ball in the gap to try and eliminate some of this.”
Trailing 4-1 heading in the ninth, the Owls' loaded the bases with no outs. Sean Murrell's sacrifice fly to right brought in Nathan Pittman and allowed Ricky Santiago to advance to third. Geoff Jimenez followed with another fly ball out, then Levi Meyer took a called third strike on a pitch that looked to be well outside.
Meyer followed home plate umpire Brad Cole to the dugout, voicing his displeasure.
“I didn't know how he could call it a strike and I thought it wasn't right to end the game like that.” said Meyer, who went 1-for-4 with a walk.
FAU never recovered from allowing three runs in the first.
With the bases loaded and one out, FAU pitcher Jake Meiers induced a Kenny Roberts chopper to short that Mitch Morales couldn't corral. Instead of an inning-ending double play, the mistake allowed the first Alabama to score and paved the way for the next two.
It was Morales fourth error in six games.
“Those routine ones, those are more about concentration than anything,” McCormack said.
FAU's only other run came in the third, with Jimenez scoring from third on a throwing error.
The Owls will try to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Crimson Tide on Sunday.
“Nothing is ever a must-win until the end of the year, but this is a big gut-check game,” McCormack said.
GameBrowser: Alabama 4, FAU 2
Owl-star performance: Less than 24 hours after being hit in the face by a pitch, Corey Keller was in the Owls' starting line-up. Playing with a fractured nose, Keller went 0-for-4, but hit a couple balls hard.
Moving forward: Mark Nelson went 2-for-3 with a walk. ...Nathan Pittman singled as a pinch hitter and scored a run. ...Jimmy Tornabene pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing only two hits.
Moving backward: Tyler Rocklein went 1-for-3, grounding into a double play and striking out once. ...Mike Spano went 0-for-3 with a strikeout. … 3B Ricky Santiago also went 0-for-3.
Key stat: 6 – double plays the Owls have hit into during the first two games against Alabama, including two on Saturday.
Up next: On Sunday the Owls will try to avoid being swept by Alabama. First pitch is at 1 p.m.