Mike Spano’s walk-off hit helps Owls to 6-5 win over FIU

Mohamed Abdihakim

Center fielder Nathan Pittman reacts to scoring a run in the bottom of the ninth inning that brought the Owls one run away from winning the game. Photo by Michelle Friswell.
Center fielder Nathan Pittman reacts to scoring a run in the bottom of the ninth inning that brought the Owls one run away from winning the game. Photo by Michelle Friswell.
Senior catcher Mike Spano came through with a game-winning hit for second this time this season, capping a 6-5 comeback win for FAU against rival FIU on Saturday afternoon.

When the Owls went into the bottom of the ninth inning with a 5-3 deficit, freshman infielder Brendon Sanger was the first batter up. He battled his way through the at-bat, fouling pitch after pitch.

Sanger earned a walk, with senior outfielder Nathan Pittman now batting and representing the tying run. Pittman hit a single, putting Sanger on second.

It was now up to Mark Nelson.

The senior first baseman hit a line drive single to score both Pittman and Sanger, tying the game at 5-5.

“I was waiting for a good fastball to hit,” said Nelson, who went 1-for-3, collecting two RBIs and two walks.

Nelson made it to second before being substituted for pinch runner Geoff Jimenez. Jimenez would be the game winning run driven in by Spano.

Pinch runner Geoff Jimenez (center) is congratulated by the bat boy (left) and his team after scoring the winning run during Saturday's game. The Owls beat FIU 6-5 by catcher Mike Spano's walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth, driving in Jimenez. Photo by Michelle Friswell.
Pinch runner Geoff Jimenez (center) is congratulated by the bat boy (left) and his team after scoring the winning run during Saturday’s game. The Owls beat FIU 6-5 by catcher Mike Spano’s walk-off single in the bottom of the ninth, driving in Jimenez. Photo by Michelle Friswell.
“I was calm and relaxed,” Spano said, referring to his late-game hit. “It was exciting.”

Spano went 3-4 on the afternoon, adding on a walk and two RBIs.

The Owls (13-7) remain undefeated in Sun Belt Conference play (2-0), winning their first two games of a three-game set against FIU this weekend. It was also the Owls’ seventh consecutive victory over the Golden Panthers.

FAU coach John McCormack was extremely pleased by the events that took place during his team’s latest victory.

“It was unbelievable,” McCormack said. “Our freshman, Sanger, fouls off pitches and draws a walk in the ninth inning. Unbelievable. Then Pittman follows it up. We all saw what [Nelson] did.”

FAU finishes its three-game series against FIU on Sunday, March 17. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m. at FAU Baseball Stadium.