Sean Murrell is congratulated after scoring a run in the sixth inning of FAU's 9-8 victory over FGCU. (OwlAccess.com photo)
Big rally, good win
FAU uses five-run sixth inning to defeat No. 25 Florida Gulf Coast 9-8 on Tuesday.
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BOCA RATON – FAU finally delivered the offensive performance it had been searching for and received just enough pitching to knock off No. 25 Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday.
Trailing 5-2, FAU exploded for five runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a lead it wouldn't relinquish.
Sean Murrell's two-out, two-run double down the leftfield line tied the game at 5. Murrell scored one batter later on Nathan Pittman's single. Pittman would then score on Levi Meyer's single.
“I was just looking for a good pitch to hit – just trying to come up clutch,” Murrell said.
The five runs matched FAU's biggest single-inning output of the season.
The Owls added single runs in the seventh and eighth – and they would be needed.
Bo Logan came out of the pen to pitch the ninth and promptly allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base. Closer Hugh Adams allowed all three inherited runners to score, then with runners on second and third stuck out Andrew Valencia and enticed a Tito Mendoza bounce out to end the game.
“You would feel better if we went 1-2-3 in the ninth and we got a four-run victory, but Hugh came in and did what he had to do. That was huge,” FAU coach John McCormack said.
FAU starter Brandon Rhodes delivered his second consecutive solid mid-week start, allowing one run on three hits before leaving with a runner on second and one out in the fifth.
Kevin Alexander entered and struggled in his first appearance of the season. The runner he inherited plus three more runners scored on three hits and two walks.
“I had trouble locating in the first inning, but I settled down when I got back into the wind-up,” said Alexander, who was credited with the win.
GameBrowser: FAU 9, No. 25 FGCU 8
Owl Star performance: Second baseman Sean Murrell went 1-for-3 on the evening, driving in two runs and scoring a third. He also made a diving play behind second base in the eighth inning that saved a run from scoring.
Moving forward: Nathan Pittman went 3-for-4 with an RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases. ...Levi Meyer, Corey Keller and Mike Spano also recorded multi-hit games. ...Mike Sylvestri pitched a scoreless 8th inning. If Adams continues to struggle, Sylvestri could step into the closers role. …Billy Endris drew an eighth inning, pinch-hit walk, stole a base and scored what turned out to be the game-winning run.
Moving backward: Bo Logan allowed the only three batters he faced to reach base. ...Mark Nelson went 0-5 with a strikeout.
Key stat: 17 – career saves for FAU closer Hugh Adams, a new FAU record.
Up next: FAU hits the road for the first time this season, traveling to Myrtle Beach, S. C. for games against Coastal Carolina, North Carolina St. and West Virginia. Friday's game against Coastal Carolina is scheduled for a 5 p.m. first pitch.