Baseball: FAU defeats Miami 11-9 following a six-run ninth inning

Eric Rivera was 4-for-5, including the game-winning grand slam


Sophomore center fielder Eric Rivera looks out to the field after making contact during the bottom of the first inning versus the Hurricanes on March 1, 2017. Ryan Lynch | Business Manager

Matt Brown, Contributing Writer

FAU baseball defeated Miami for the second time this year Wednesday, this time behind a six-run ninth inning.

The Owls (16-5) have won eight of their last nine. In those last nine games, they have scored 10 or more runs seven times.

The Hurricanes (10-11) have lost four of their last six games.

The Owls offense got on the board quickly. It started in the top of the second, when redshirt freshman designated hitter Andru Summerall led off the inning with a single up the middle.

Summerall advanced to third after a single through the right side from sophomore second baseman Eric Rivera. Rivera then stole second to put two runners in scoring position.

Redshirt sophomore outfielder Cody Wilson then sent them home after hitting a grounder to short.

The Hurricanes cut the lead in half in the next half inning off a home run by third baseman Raymond Gil, the first of his career, to make it 2-1 through two innings of play.

With one out in the top of the fourth, Rivera got his second hit of the game, a single to left field. He then advanced to third after a failed pickoff attempt from Hurricanes pitcher Daniel Federman.

Federman made up for his mistake, striking out redshirt freshman left fielder Steven Revilla on just three pitches. He then got Wilson to hit a liner to right field where Hunter Tackett made a diving catch for the third and final out of the inning to keep the Owls from extending their lead.

“Wilson hit that ball well. Their guy made a really nice play,” said FAU head baseball coach John McCormack. “

The Hurricanes broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth, scoring seven runs.

They started the bottom of the fourth with three straight players reaching base, loading the bases for Zamora. They took their first lead of the game when Zamora singled through the left side, scoring two runs.

Senior pitcher Marc Stewart’s day was done after that. He lasted just 3.1 innings, allowing five hits and five runs.

Junior pitcher Swan came on in relief, but didn’t last long. His first batter, leftfielder Dylan Cloonan, singled to left scoring a run.

Tackett then singled to load the bases again. Swan walked a run home to make it 6-2 before being pulled after less than one inning. In his three batters faced, he allowed two hits and three runs.

Graduate student pitcher Matt Harris came in as the third pitcher of the fourth inning to attempt to stop the bleeding. He allowed a double to start off to center fielder Michael Burns to score the fifth and sixth run of the inning.

Catcher Isaac Quinones then hit a sacrifice fly to center to score the seventh and final run of the inning to give the Hurricanes a 9-2 lead.

After a quick three outs for the Owls top of the lineup, Miami tacked on another run in the bottom of the fifth. Escala scored after a single through the left side from Gil to take a 9-2 lead.

The Owls attempted to make a comeback after that.

A Rivera single to center field, his third hit of the game, scored junior shortstop Tyler Frank in the top of the sixth. Wilson then led off the seventh inning with a solo shot to right field, his third of the year.

Frank scored once again later in the seventh, this time off a single by redshirt senior right fielder David Miranda.

Down to their final three outs the Owls made it interesting in the ninth.

They loaded the bases with one out when Miranda singled to left field to score Wilson to pull within three. Montes then sac flied scoring Frank, to make it 9-7.

The bases were loaded again with two outs after Summerall was hit by a pitch.

With two outs and two strikes, Rivera had his fourth hit of the game, a grand slam, giving FAU the 11-9 lead.

“Just (thinking about) hitting the ball hard,” Rivera said on his thought process heading to the plate.

Junior closer Zach Schneider came in to close the game in the ninth inning, getting his seventh save of the year to secure the come from behind win.

Redshirt junior pitcher Weston Clemente got the winm pitching one inning of relief allowing no hits and striking out one.

“Our guys hung in there.” said McCormack. “They put themselves in a position to win and were able to capitalize on it.”

The Owls offense has scored 10 or more runs in seven of their last eight games and a combined 79 runs total.

The first three Owls pitchers combined allowed all 10 hits and eight runs in five innings. The final three allowed no hits while striking out seven.

The Owls were led by Rivera, who was 4-for-5 with two runs scored, five RBIs and a stolen base along with his game-winning grand slam.

“Just seeing the ball well,” Rivera said on what he was successful with.“Trying to get on base and hit the ball up the middle. Luckily it worked out tonight.”

Miranda was 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored. Wilson was 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

Frank extended his hitting streak to 16 straight games. He was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.

The Owls continue conference play with a three-game series at home against Southern Miss from March 23-25.

Matt Brown is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @mattyb407.