Baseball: Big 6th inning carries FAU to sweep over Middle Tennessee State

Andrew Ivins

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The last time the Owls met up with the Blue Raiders for a three game series on the baseball diamond, it was the only set of conference games that the team had lost all of last year.

Sunday, FAU (16-8, 5-1) was able to avenge that previous fault, winning their third game of the weekend over Middle Tennessee State (5-16, 0-6) by a score of 13-2, and sweeping the three-game series.

Things didn’t start off the way head coach John McCormak had wanted, as starting pitcher R.J. Alvarez surrendered a lead-off homerun to the game’s first batter, but after the long ball, the sophomore was flawless on the mound.

Alvarez pitched six quality innings of work, giving up only four hits and striking out three batters while picking up his third victory of the season. The early one-run deficit which the Owls had faced, was quickly erased when left fielder Alex Hudak slapped a single to left field, driving in a runner and tying the game.

“We scored that one run in the first, so I was like ‘alright it’s a new game’, so I just went out there and tried to keep them to zero [runs],” Alvarez said.

While Alvarez kept working through the Blue Raiders lineup, the offense caught a glimpse of light in the fourth inning.

Hudak picked up his second hit of the afternoon, after going hitless in the previous two games, and with him on second base, designated hitter Mike Spano brought him across the plate and gave the home team its first lead of the afternoon.

Shortstop Nick Delguidice kept the scoring going, hitting a sacrifice fly, and brought the lead to two runs after four innings of play.

Once the game stretched into the sixth inning, the Owls’ bats really got going. Hudak, was once again the spark plug and knocked out a double to start off the frame.  Delguidice followed up the extra-base hit, with one of his own and the first of many runs were scored in the sixth inning.

FAU combined to put up ten runs on the scoreboard in the sixth, off of nine hits while leaving just one batter on base. The squad faced three different Blue Raider pitchers during the offensive outburst, but none of them could stop a lead that grew to twelve runs.

“It’s just crazy,” said Hudak on the scoring. “It’s amazing to just see those bats work like that, because you just had this feeling in the dugout that the next guy, or the guy after that is going to carry it, and you don’t want to be the last guy to make the out.”

Due to the Sun Belt Conference’s “Sunday rule”, in which if a team is leading by more than ten runs late into a game played on Sunday, the contest was shortened in the middle of the seventh inning to accommodate Middle Tennessee State’s travel plans.

Hudak finished the game, going 3-of-3 with an RBI and three runs scored. Spano was the big run producer leading the team with three RBIs of his own and catcher Mike Albaladejo added his third double of the year. FAU combined altogether for thirteen hits, while the away team managed just four.

“We’re rolling, you see what were capable of when everybody clicks and hits. With RJ (Alvarez), it’s been three straight outings he has been able to come out and establish a strike zone. We’re a talented team,” Hudak said.

The Owls are set to put their five game win streak on the line Tuesday night when they host Bethune-Cookman at 4 p.m.