BOCA RATON – Boos roared through the crowd during Tyler Frank’s intentional walk in the bottom of the seventh inning – a managerial move that effectively ended the junior’s bid to break FAU’s record for the longest hitting streak.
Although Frank missed his chance at history, Florida Atlantic hit a pair of homers to defeat Charlotte 5-2 in the opening game of the weekend series.
Frank walked twice as part of an 0-for-2 night, with the intentional pass coming with two outs and a runner on third, with FAU leading 5-1 in the seventh. In Wednesday’s victory over Miami Frank had tied Kevin Connacher’s hitting streak record of 24 set in 1994. Raymond Church also hit in 24 consecutive games, but his streak spanned two seasons – 2010-11. Some of the fans and players were not happy with Charlotte’ decision not to pitch to Frank late in the game.
“Let him hit it, it’s college baseball,” FAU pitcher Jake Miednik said. “If you’re that scared, you shouldn’t be out there on the mound.”
Both Frank and FAU coach John McCormack characterized the intentional walk as good baseball strategy.
“That’s the right move for them,” McCormack said. “Why would you let Tyler beat you?”
Frank nearly extended his hitting streak in the fifth only to be robbed by Jake Whitcomb’s diving catch of a sinking liner in right field. After the catch, the final out of the inning, Frank stared out to right field with his hands on his helmet for a few seconds as the Owls took the field defensively for the top of the sixth.
“Yeah I thought that was dropping, but it’s alright,” Frank said. “Hit balls hard, and sometimes they get caught. It’s baseball.”
The Owls were given an early lead when Pedro Pages hit a three-run home run into deep right field.
The game remained fairly quiet, until Jake Miednik gave up his first run of the game when Zack Smith hit a home run to right field in the top of the sixth inning.
FAU wasted no time to answer back, when David Miranda hit his third home run of the season in the bottom of the seventh inning.
“It was a really good conference matchup pitching wise,” FAU coach John McCormack said.
GameBrowser: FAU (22-8, 7-3) 5, Charlotte (15-14, 5-5) 2
Moving Forward: David Miranda went 2-for-4 with a two-run homer, two RBI and two runs scored. .…Jake Miednik pitched into the ninth inning, only allowing one earned run on four hits to improve to 5-1. …Cody Wilson went 2-for-3. …Drew Peden relieved Miednik and immediately picked Harris Yett off second base.
Sliding Backward: The bottom five of the lineup went 2-for-15 with five strikeouts. …Eric Rivera went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts.
Key Stat: 108 – Pitches from Miednik.
Instant Message: “We’ve got bigger things in mind. We’re trying to win a conference championship.” – Tyler Frank regarding the disappointment of losing his hitting streak.
Up Next: First pitch for Saturday’ game against Charlotte is scheduled for 4 p.m.