Baseball: FAU wins Sun Belt Conference with 4-3 walk off win against FIU

Jordan Robrish

With a 19-8 record in Sun Belt Conference play, the Owls are league champions for the second time in three seasons. FAU earned the top seed in the Sun Belt Conference championship tournament, which is held in Bowling Green, Kentucky starting May 23. Photo by Michelle Friswell.
For the second time in three seasons, the Owls are conference champions.The Sun Belt title was won off right fielder Corey Keller’s walk-off single in the ninth inning, giving the Owls a 4-3 come from behind victory over FIU at FAU Baseball Stadium.The Owls were down to their last three outs and had been trailing the entire game. The team came to the plate in the bottom of the 9th inning down by a score of 3-1. The first batter to come up to the plate was left fielder Nathan Pittman, who was able to draw a walk against FIU left handed closer Michael Gomez. Second baseman Mike Albaladejo then drew a walk on a 3-2 count against Gomez putting two runners on base with no outs. During short stop Mitch Morales at-bat both FAU base runners were able to advance to second and third base on a wild pitch by the closer.

After Morales grounded out, designated hitter Alex Hudak stepped to the plate with two men in scoring position and one out. Hudak was able to slam a double to right field that would bring around both Albaladejo and Gomez, tying the score at 3. After pitch runner Dylan Seigel was substituted for Hudak at second base, third baseman Kyle Newton was intentionally walked by FIU closer Gomez, putting runners on the corners as first baseman Mark Nelson came up to bat. Nelson would walk on four straight balls from the closer and loaded for right fielder Corey Keller. The Owls were able to draw four walks in the bottom of the ninth.

FAU head coach John McCormack now has two regular season Sun Belt titles since taking over for Kevin Cooney four years ago. McCormack led FAU to an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament in 2010. Photo by Michelle Friswell.

Keller stepped up into the batters box with the bases loaded and one out. Keller looked on as the count was 2-2 and would hit the next pitch over the right field side of the infield for a game winning RBI single, bringing Newton around to score from first base.

The winning pitcher for the Owls was freshman left hander Bo Logan, who with the victory improved his record to 3-3 on the season with a 4.83 ERA. Logan gave up no runs and struck out four batters as he pitched the final three innings against FIU. The regular season title assures the Owls will have a first round bye in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament which begins May 23rd in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

FAU plays the final game of the regular season on Saturday May 19 versus FIU at 1 p.m. at FAU Baseball Stadium.