BOCA RATON — As they did on Friday night, FAU defeated FIU in walk-off fashion – this time with a 9-8 victory in 10 innings thanks to Jared Shouppe’s game-ending RBI line drive down the right field line.
The Owls entered the weekend series without a walk-off win all season.
While Friday’s win over the rival Panthers came with a walk-off wild pitch, Owls coach John McCormack pointed to something else as the catalyst on Saturday: the ‘senior moment.’
“These guys make fun of me because later in the year, I call them ‘senior moments’ and this was when we need a senior moment,” McCormack explained after his team’s fourth straight win.
No one needed a senior moment more than Sean Lasban, who tied the game at 8-8 with a pinch-hit two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning. With FAU down to their last out, Labsan – hitting in place of Pedro Pages – snuck an 0-1 pitch from Chandler Raiden over the right field wall.
Labsan’s home run was FAU’s only long bomb on the day, but it couldn’t have come at a better time – both for him and the team.
“Labsan, I’m so proud of him – his senior year hasn’t gone the way he’s wanted with the injury and [Jared Shouppe] has kind of latched onto the DH spot, but it’s just amazing,” McCormack said. “I was kind of vacillating between letting Pedro hit and if Pedro got on, then we’re gonna hit for [Jordan Poore] and we can win it, but if there’s one out, I’d probably have let Pages hit but I said let’s just take a shot.”
Labsan wasn’t the only senior to shine on Saturday, as Austin Langham gave the Owls their first lead of the game with a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the seventh inning. Down 3-1 after four innings, FAU slowly clawed back, with Esteban Puerta and Shouppe each recording RBI singles during the fifth inning.
Two innings later, Langham reached base in the bottom of the ninth inning with a single to left field to set up Labsan’s home run.
As for Shouppe, his second ‘senior moment’ came an inning later, when he took a 2-1 pitch down the right field line to score David Miranda and send the FAU fans home happy. Shouppe was award a double on the play, although video appears to show he never reached second base.
“We grinded out some really good at-bats and had 17 hits against a pretty good pitching staff,” McCormack said. “What a win, what a win.”
GameBrowser: FAU (28-13-1, 10-6) 9, FIU (26-19, 10-10) 8
Moving Forward: Eight of FAU’s starters had a hit…Tyler Frank was 4-5 and walked, one of six total walks for the Owls….Kyle Marman, Blake Sanderson, Drew Peden, Weston Clemente, and Cameron Ragsdale combined to allow one hit in 2.2 innings of relief.
Sliding Backward: Stephen Kerr was the lone Owls starter to not record a hit…. Mark Nowatnick wasn’t great in his second start of the year, allowing four earned runs in 4 1/3 innings. …Nick Swan relieved the junior and threw three innings, allowing the 6-4 lead to become a 6-6 tie in the top of the eighth.
Key Stat: 17 – hits for the Owls on Saturday.
Up Next: FAU will go for the sweep against their in-state rivals on Sunday when Jake Miednik will take the mound on an extra day of rest. First pitch is set for noon.