Nathan Pittman is congratulated by Ricky Santiago following a 5th inning home run.
FAU falls to South Alabama in its final game of the Sun Belt Tournament and now must hope the NCAA makes what appears to be an unlikely decision and invites the Owls to the NCAA Tournament.
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Extra innings were once again unkind to FAU, with Friday's loss 5-4 in 10 innings to South Alabama crippling the Owls' hopes of an NCAA Tournament at-large bid to near paralysis.
The loss dropped FAU, the Sun Belt Conference's regular season champion, to 1-2 in the tournament and likely ended its season. The Owls knew before taking the field on Friday that even with a win they couldn't advance to the championship game.
FAU must now hope the NCAA selection committee places heavy weight on its regular season title and overlooks the lack of quality wins and an RPI above 70.
South Alabama trailed by two before tying the game at 4 in the seventh. The Jaguars ended the game when Nick Zaharion's two-out bloop single allowed Nolan Early to score from second with the winning run.
Trailing 2-0, FAU tied the game in the fourth. Corey Keller put the Owls on the scoreboard with a sacrifice fly. Nathan Pittman followed with a solo home run – his second round tripper of the tournament.
The Owls took the lead with two more runs in the following inning. Kyle Newton drove in the first run of the inning, but had to leave the field immediately following the at-bat with an apparent leg injury. Pinch runner Mitch Morales scored the second run when Nathan Pittman grounded into a double play.
FAU freshman starting pitcher Austin Gomber struck out seven while allowing two runs, but lasted only six innings.
Little used senior Mike Tomasi replaced Gomber in the seventh and promptly allowed South Alabama to tie the score before striking out the side.
GameBrowser: USA 5, FAU 4 (10 innings)
Owl-star Performance: Freshman Austin Gomber struck out seven in six innings while allowing two runs.
Moving Forward: LF Nathan Pittman homered for the second consecutive game. ...Corey Keller had two hits and drove in a run. ...Geoff Jimenez recorded three hits.
Moving Backward: Senior Robert Buckley drew the start at second base but went 0-for-5. ...Ricky Santiago started at shortstop and went hitless in four at-bats.
Key Stat: Freshman Mitch Morales didn't get the start at shortstop on Friday for the first time in Sun Belt play this season. Morales was 0-for-10 in the first two games of the series.
Up Next: FAU will not advance to the Sun Belt championship game, so the Owls will have to wait to see if they earn an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.