Baseball: FAU beats South Alabama in high scoring affair to take series opener 7-5

Cyrus Smith

Lead-off hitter and second baseman Mike Albaladejo finished Friday night's win over South Alabama 2 for 3 on the night, with 3 runs scored, including a solo home run in the fourth inning. Photo by Michelle Friswell.

After playing out of conference Tuesday against rival Lynn, the Owls resumed conference play tonight, this time against South Alabama.

FAU’s bats finally awoke tonight, racking in 10 hits and seven runs to win the series opener 7-5.

The Owls started the game strong as they raced out to an early 2-0 lead with sophomore center fielder Geoff Jimenez hammering a fastball off of left-handed pitcher Phillip Byrd during the second inning.

Junior outfielder Corey Keller, failed to extend his multi-hit streak to seven games, but was able to extend his overall hitting streak to seven, added a run in the third inning via a sacrifice fly.

South Alabama responded in the fourth inning when its catcher Brent Mitchell hit a solo home run. The Owls were able to tack on another run in the fourth inning, however, when senior second baseman Mike Albaladejo hit a solo home run to left field.

After South Alabama closed the gap by two following a solo shot by Nolan Earley, the Owls stretched out the lead to four when junior first baseman Mark Nelson recorded a two-run single to bring the score to 6-2.

The Jaguars would not go down quietly, though, as they scored three runs in the seventh. Infielder Nick Zaharion had another home run for South Alabama. The other two runs scored in the inning came via a hit by pitch and sacrifice fly from Drew Cofield and Brent Mitchell, respectively.

That was all South Alabama was able to muster though as FAU junior reliever R.J. Alvarez recorded a six-out save to extend the Owls’ winning streak to a season high five games.

Alvarez has allowed only two batters to reach base since conference play.

“I knew when I was in the bullpen I had to shut them down and take the confidence out of them,” Alvarez said. “I wanted to get the momentum on our side, and it worked when Nelson got the RBI at the bottom of the eighth.”

FAU starting pitcher Ryan Garton recorded his sixth win of the season, going 6.1 innings, allowing six hits and five runs. The Owls’ bullpen threw 2.2 innings of shutout baseball allowing zero hits and one walk.

The game featured a total of five home runs.

FAU is 22-10 and remains first in the Sun Belt Conference with a 10-1 record.

FAU resumes the three-game home set versus South Alabama tomorrow at 4:30 p.m.