FAU wins first game of C-USA tournament, beating UTSA 6-5

Blake Sanderson collected the win, his eighth of the season.

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FAU wins first game of C-USA tournament, beating UTSA 6-5

Photo by Alexander Rodriguez.

Photo by Alexander Rodriguez.

Photo by Alexander Rodriguez.

Photo by Alexander Rodriguez.

Zachary Weinberger, Sports Editor

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In the first game of the Conference USA tournament, FAU takes the opener in a 6-5 victory over UTSA.

The Owls got the offense going early in the bottom of the first inning, scoring two runs off of UTSA starting pitcher Karan Patel, started by junior Francisco Urbaez’s RBI single into right field. FAU continued to add two more runs to make the lead more sustainable, until UTSA came back with a force and had a three run third inning.

Blake Sanderson got the start in the tournament opener, and while he did record the win, it was up and down performance to say the least. He threw 102 pitches, striking out four across six frames, but had five earned runs.

But after the sixth inning, the pitching for the Owls was locked in the whole way through, thanks to the likes of Dylan O’Connell and closer Zach Schneider.

Of course, playoff baseball wouldn’t be without tension, as Schneider had the bases loaded with one out in the ninth inning. However, Schneider came in clutch to earn his 15th save of the season by making UTSA outfielder Dylan Rock ground into a double play to end the game.

“What a game, two of the first-team all-conference guys square off and they don’t factor in the end,” FAU coach John McCormack said to FAUsports.com. “Our guys kept charging, their guys kept charging, and we get the double play at the end. It’s a great victory.”

The next game in the C-USA tournament for FAU is against Western Kentucky tonight at 8:30 p.m. Eastern. The Hilltoppers’ last game, against Old Dominion, took past 1:00 a.m. to complete, which could prove beneficial for the Owls.

Zachary Weinberger is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @ZachWeinberger