Baseball: FAU splits doubleheader by winning 15-9

Ryan Cortes

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With two games on the docket versus the first-place Troy Trojans, it was imperative to win at least one. After losing the first game of the double-header 9-7, FAU had an offensive barrage, beating Troy 15-9.

In the process, the Owls had a season-high 21 hits in the game, and despite scoring 15 runs, left 14 runners on base.

Early on, in the bottom half of the first inning, FAU started the scoring early. After center fielder Colby Gratton and left fielder Alex Hudak reached base, shortstop Nick Delguidice singled both runners home to place FAU ahead 2-0.

The following inning, Gratton and first baseman Dan Scheffler each had RBI singles, increasing the lead to 5-0.

For the second consecutive inning, Gratton stole a base, and he would do so again later in the game.

“When it comes to stealing, I’m not scared,” pronounced Gratton after the game. “I get good leads, good jumps, I’m really not that fast, [it’s] just smart baserunning.”

During the second inning, Troy pulled its starting pitcher, Ryan Sorce after just 1.1 innings. Sorce allowed 6 earned runs on 9 hits. The Trojans inserted right-hander Nick Ward who allowed a sacrifice fly to designated hitter Eddie Cassidy and hit catcher Mike Albaladejo with a pitch while the bases were loaded to make it 8-0 FAU.

Although FAU was ahead by 8 runs, and would go on to win 15-9, head coach John McCormack warned that scenarios involving big leads are always worrisome.

“Sometimes in these games when you get so far out, it gets hard to pitch,” said McCormack. “You look at it– we gave up 9 runs, but sometimes its more difficult to pitch in those games than close games.”

In the top of the 7th inning, with the score 12-4 in favor of FAU, the Owls inserted lefty Josh Gonzaga. Troy’s Boone Shear hit a deep flyball into the gap in centerfield.

Gratton raced after it and made a leaping catch, sending fans into loud cheers.

“Well first I didn’t realize it was hit so hard so I actually took a wrong angle,” said Gratton about the catch. “So then at the last second I did what I had to do ‘cause I didn’t want it to go over my head.”

Gonzaga struggled, giving up a 3-run homer to Shear in the following inning to draw Troy closer, at that point down 14-8.

After the Trojans closed the gap, FAU responded with a run of its own in the ninth, making it 15-9, a score that would hold up throughout the contest.

“I was extremely impressed with the way the guys went about their business,” said McCormack.

Notes: It was the 100th consecutive game that Nick Delguidice and Raymond Church were the 2B/SS combination for FAU…The Owls scored in the first 4 innings of the game before having a scoreless 5th inning….Three times during the game foul balls hit the light fixture in right field, saving fans sitting on the grass behind it.