BOCA RATON — Sunday’s rubber game match-up between the Indiana Hoosiers and Florida Atlantic Owls ended in a way few baseball games ever do: a tie.
As a result of Indiana needing to catch a 5:30 p.m. flight and the game being tied 6-6 after 11 innings, the two teams decided to mutually call a tie.
FAU should never have been in the position where a tie was even necessary, as Nick Swan pitched well enough to win before the team’s bullpen gave the game away. After entering the eighth inning with a 4-2 lead, the bullpen duo of Eric Keating and Cameron Ragsdale combined to allow four runs.
Craig Dedelow homered off Keating to pull Indiana within a ru. FAU coach John McCormack replaced Keating with Ragsdale. One of Conference USA’s best closers a season ago, Ragsdale walked the bases loaded and allowed a two-run single to Hoosier second baseman Tony Butler; a senior who entered the game well below the Mendoza Line with a .150 average.
Shortstop Jeremy Houston singled on the next pitch to bring Matt Lloyd home and put Indiana up 6-4.
“It was a disappointing day for the relievers, the at-bats, and just the simple baseball stuff,” McCormack said. “We couldn’t execute down the stretch.”
FAU loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth, but only managed one run when Austin Langham grounded into a fielder’s choice at third. Garry Mattis tied the game at six in the bottom of the ninth with a solo home run and Eric Rivera tripled with two outs, though the Owls were unable to drive in the winning run.
Another FAU chance at scoring came when the team loaded the bases again in the 10th, but second baseman Stephen Kerr was tagged out at home on a squeeze attempt gone wrong.
Neither team scored in the 11th, with FAU failing to take advantage of a one-out single by Tyler Frank.
The Owls wasted a strong outing from Nick Swan, who scattered eight hits across his six innings of work. Striking out eight, Swan threw 64 of his 91 pitches for strikes and avoided the control issues that plagued him last week.
“He pitched well and kept us in it,” McCormack said. “We had plenty of opportunities to win the game, but just couldn’t.”
GameBrowser: FAU (4-1-1) 6, Indiana (3-3-1) 6
Moving Forward: Kevin Abraham started at catcher, the first time in two years he’s played all three games in a series, and went 1-5. …FAU broke through in the first inning when cleanup hitter Stephen Kerr doubled Tyler Frank and Eric Rivera home after the two executed a perfect double steal. …Drew Peden struck out two of the four batters he faced in relief. …FAU had seven walks and only gave up one.
Sliding Backward: FAU’s 5-6-7 hitters – Austin Langham, Aldrich DeJongh, and Brad Mathiowetz combined to go 1-for-12 at the plate; DeJongh is now 2-13 to begin his collegiate career. …Indiana’s Luke Miller homered for the second straight day. …The dangerous Esteban Puerta was 1-5.
Key Stat: 0 – walks or hit batsmen by Swan on Sunday after five (two walks, three hit batsmen) in his first start of the year.
Up Next: FAU will play it’s first non-home game of the year on Tuesday night at Florida Gulf Coast. First pitch from JetBlue Park is set for 6:30 p.m.