Adams breaks saves record as FAU beats WKU, 5-4, in Sun Belt Tournament opener

Mohamed Abdihakim

With Wednesday's 5-4 victory over Western Kentucky, Closer Hugh Adams now holds the most career saves in the Sun Belt Conference with 29 saves. Photo by Michelle Friswell
With Wednesday’s 5-4 victory over Western Kentucky, Closer Hugh Adams now holds the most career saves in the Sun Belt Conference with 29 saves. Photo by Michelle Friswell

Owls senior closer Hugh Adams picked a pivotal moment to break the all-time career Sun Belt saves record.

Adams pitched a perfect ninth inning to preserve No. 4 seed FAU’s narrow 5-4 win over No. 5 seed Western Kentucky in the first round of the Sun Belt Conference tournament on Wednesday.

It was Adams’ 16th save of the year, and the 29th of his FAU career.

Overall, pitching was a major strength of the Owls against the Hilltoppers. Sophomore starter Austin Gomber, who received the win, went 7.1 innings, giving up three runs on six hits while striking out seven batters.

Gomber’s outing was aided by a productive Owls offense, which exploded for four runs in the bottom of the first by way of outfielder Tyler Rocklein’s sacrifice fly, second baseman’s Brendon Sanger’s two-run triple, and outfielder Corey Keller’s sacrifice fly.

FAU added another run in the third, when a double by Keller plated designated hitter Levi Meyer.

Following several scoreless innings, the game became tight in the top of the eighth, as two Western Kentucky homers –– a solo shot off of Gomber and three-run blast off of reliever Kevin Alexander –– quickly brought the score to 5-4.

The aforementioned Adams, however, would work a hitless ninth to ensure the Owls’ eighth-straight win, a season high.

FAU totaled seven hits on the afternoon, with Meyer going 2-for-4 from the plate, and Sanger and Keller combining for four RBIs.

The Owls, who swept the Hilltoppers earlier in the season, bumped their overall record to 36-20, and likely did enough to secure a bid in the NCAA Tournament.

FAU continues tournament play against the winner of No. 1 seed Troy and No. 8 seed Arkansas State on Thursday, May 23. First pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m. EST.