Baseball: Owls fall to UAB 2-1 for first Conference series loss in over a month

The Owls allowed a season-high 17 hits in the final game of the series


Photo by Max Jackson

Matt Brown, Contributing Writer

Florida Atlantic baseball loses just its second Conference USA series this season following losing two straight for the first time in over a month to close out the series.

Here’s a recap of each game in the series:

Game One: FAU 5, UAB 2

After falling behind 1-0, the Owls scored five unanswered runs in an eventual 5-2 win.

After Owls starting pitcher Jake Miednik retired the first eight UAB batters, the Blazers rattled off three straight singles to get on the board first in the top of the third, 1-0.

FAU answered back in the bottom half of the inning with catcher Pedro Pages’ three run homer to right, his fourth of the year, put the Owls ahead 3-1.

Third baseman Joe Montes tacked on to that lead with a two-run double in the next inning to make it 5-1.

The Blazers cut the lead to three after designated hitter Brett Blackwood hit a solo shot to left field. They failed to plate anymore runs though, being held to just one hit in the final two innings to help give the Owls – 5-2 win.

Montes led the Owls, going 2-for-4 with two hits, a run scored and two RBIs.

Right fielder David Miranda was also 2-for-4 with a run scored and two hits.

Miednik earned his sixth win of the year, allowing just six hits and two runs in seven innings. He also walked just one and struck out three of the 27 batters he faced.

“It thought it was a gutsy performance,” said FAU head baseball coach John McCormack. “…He really did a nice job to get us to the eighth inning.”

Relief pitcher Zach Schneider got the save, extending his C-USA record to 13 saves for the season. He threw just eight pitches, six for strikes, and allowed no batters on base.

Game Two: UAB 8, FAU 2

UAB starting pitcher Ryan Ruggles pitched eight innings allowing just six hits and two runs, one earned, while striking out a career high 10 batters in the Blazers’ 8-2 win Saturday.

“That guy threw a good game,” said McCormack. “I thought we could have done a better job. I mean he threw three pitches for strikes…would I want our guys to do more with him? Yes, but you have to give him credit, he really threw well.”

UAB got off to a quick 4-0 lead in the first two innings before left fielder Eric Rivera led off the bottom of the second with a solo shot to center, just out of reach of the Blazers center fielder.

The Owls cut the lead in half later in the inning after first baseman Gunnar Lambert scored after a throwing error from UAB shortstop Antonio Ralat.

Ralat made up for the error in the fourth, leading things off with a single before scoring later in the inning to give the Blazers a 5-2 lead.

The Owls threatened in the bottom half of the inning with two runners on and one out. Ruggles buckled down after that retiring the next fourteen Owls batters.

UAB added three insurance runs in the seventh, including back-to-back solo home runs to left field.

Ruggles was pulled in the ninth after allowing a leadoff walk and the Owls loaded the bases on relief pitcher Carson Jones with just one out.

Jones got out of the threat, first getting pinch hitter Andru Summerall to strike out looking before pinch hitter Jared Desantolo grounded out to end the game and give UAB the 8-2 win.

FAU starting pitcher Vince Coletti allowed five runs, four earned runs and eight hits in 3.1 innings.

Second baseman Richie Nizza and Lambert were the only Owls with multiple hits.

Nizza was 3-for-4, while Lambert was 2-for-3 with a run scored.

Center fielder Cody Wilson’s 14-game hitting streak came to an end on the day.

The Owls pitchers allowed sixteen hits, tying the season high set back on April 15 against UTSA.

Game Three: UAB 12, FAU 5

After allowing UAB to tie the record the previous night, the Owls allowed a season-high 17 hits to the Blazers in a 12-5 loss, their second straight.

“We did not pitch well,” said McCormack. “(We) had a chance to score some runs but weren’t able to. They made some pitches when they had to.”

UAB got off to a quick start, scoring five runs in the first two innings to take an early lead. That lead doubled in the third, where the Blazers scored five more runs off of five hits, all happening in a row.

Trailing by 10, FAU began to rally in the bottom half of the third. They scored four runs before loading the bases.

UAB starting pitcher Tyler Gates got Owls second baseman Richie Nizza to strike out swinging to end the threat.

Designated hitter Brett Blackwood’s sixth homer of the season, a two-run shot to left field, pushed the UAB lead to eight, 12-4.

The Owls scored a run in the bottom of the sixth, but failed to tack on anymore, eventually falling 12-5.

After allowing UAB to tie the season high the previous game, the Owls allowed them to hit a season-high 17 in the game.

Designated hitter Jared Desantolo was the only Owl with multiple hits, going 4-for-4 with two RBIs while scoring a run.

“Jared Desantolo has kind of arrived…a little bit,” said McCormack on positives he can take away from the past two losses. “Give us some stability at the DH spot.”

Starting pitcher Jordan Poore only lasted one inning and failed to record an out in the second. He allowed six hits and five earned runs.

After three Owls pitchers combined for just 107 pitches in the series opener six pitchers combined for 183 pitches in the finale.

It’s the first time the Owls have lost two straight since losing a season-high three-straight game back on March 24-27, dropping two to Southern Miss followed by a single game to Bethune Cookman.

The Owls (30-12-1) travel to UCF for a single non-conference game on Tuesday, May 1 at 6:30 p.m.

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