FAU’s bats hit the snooze button a couple of times before finally busting out of bed in time to defeat FIU 8-4, staving off elimination from the Conference USA tournament Thursday morning in Biloxi, Miss.
Mostly quiet for five innings, the Owls erupted for six runs in the sixth inning and two more in the seventh in a game that began at 9 a.m. local time.
Trailing 2-0, Pedro Pages put the Owls on the scoreboard with a two-out, bases-loaded double that rattled aroud in the left field corner, allowing all three runners to score.
Two batters later Jared Shouppe blasted a three-run, line-drive home run over the right-field wall to put the Owls up 6-2.
After No. 7 seed FIU scored two in the bottom of the sixth, Esteban Puerta’s two-run double provided the Owls with their margin of victory.
Normally a starting pitcher, Alex House delivered his second consecutive quality relief performance, limiting FIU to one earned run on three hits while striking out eight in seven innings to earn the win.
No. 3 FAU will now face the loser of the No. 2 Old Dominion vs. No. 6 Rice on Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. The Owls own two wins over both those teams this season. Rice did defeat FAU 5-3 in the opening round of the tournament.
FIU is the first team eliminated from the tournament.
GameBrowser: No. 3 FAU 8, No. 7 FIU 4
Moving Forward: Alex House’s 94-pitch relief performance did more than help send the Owls into the next round of the Conference USA tournament. It also helped preserve the bullpen, which is crucial in tournament play. …Austin Langham smacked two hits and scored twice. …Catcher Pedro Pages drove in three runs, cut down a runner who had strayed too far from second, and made a fine catch in foul ground for the final out of the game. …Left fielder Eric Rivera scored a run and made a leaping catch at the wall.
Sliding Backward: Catcher Kevin Abraham suffered a fractured hand when he was hit by a pitch in Wednesday’s game. His season is likely over. He won a battle with cancer last year and was hit by a pitch in the face earlier this season. Can’t this guy catch a break? …Tyler Frank went hitless in four at-bats, committed an error that led to a run and grounded into a double play.
Key Stat: 4 – victories over FIU in as many games this season for FAU.
Up Next: FAU faces either ODU or Rice on Friday in another elimination game. Jake Miednik, who last pitched on Saturday, could return to the mound for the Owls.