Stellar start wasted as Owls’ bullpen bumbles in 5-2 loss to Alabama

Mohamed Abdihakim

Catcher Levi Meyer collected one hit in four at bats during Friday's game against Alabama. Photo by Michelle Friswell.
Catcher Levi Meyer collected one hit in four at bats during Friday’s game against Alabama. Photo by Michelle Friswell.

Sophomore pitcher Austin Gomber saw his second straight quality start go to waste.

The Owls’ bullpen pitched FAU to a 5-2 loss in the first of a three-game homestand against Alabama.

With FAU leading 2-1 in the seventh inning, Gomber was replaced by junior relief pitcher Andrew Archer.

The Crimson Tide then managed to tie things up.

A single by Alabama first baseman Austin Smith laced Archer’s fastball to left field, driving in a run and knotting the game at 2-2.

The Owls’ bullpen continued to struggle — and ultimately lost the game — when they allowed 3 more runs in the eighth inning, extending Alabama’s lead to 5-2.

In total, FAU’s offense connected on five hits, two of which came from junior outfielder Tyler Rocklein. Junior infielder Sean Murrell scored the Owls’ only earned run of the game.

Head coach John McCormack and shortstop Mitch Morales discuss a play during the 5-2 loss to the undefeated Alabama in Friday's 6:30 game. Photo by Michelle Friswell.
Head coach John McCormack and shortstop Mitch Morales discuss a play during the 5-2 loss to the undefeated Alabama in Friday’s 6:30 game. Photo by Michelle Friswell.

Despite the Owls’ loss, however, Gomber was solid. Through six innings, the lefty collected five strikeouts, holding visiting Alabama to a single run in his time on the mound.

This start wasn’t entirely spotless for Gomber. In his first three innings, the Owls starter needed 52 pitches to keep the Crimson Tide at bay. Gomber also erred on a pick-off attempt to first, leading to Alabama’s first and only run of the game.

Disregarding the early trouble, Gomber’s second start of the season boasted some pitch control from the lefty. Of his 100 pitches, the Owls’ starter threw 64 for strikes. As a result, he walked just two batters on the night while allowing a mere two hits.

“I had two lead-off walks, those are cardinal sins in baseball,” Gomber said. “I think I was able to work my way around it.”

Going forward, Gomber’s confidence in his teammates remains unwavered.

“I mean, I’d take that same start and put the same guys in every week and be confident that we can pull it out,” Gomber said.

FAU continues its weekend series against Alabama on Saturday, Feb. 23. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. at FAU Baseball Stadium.