BOCA RATON — At the rate they’re going, the Owls don’t need a hashtag or catchphrase to describe their 2017 season. They only need to get the opposing starter out of the game.
The same way they rallied from a 4-0 deficit on Friday night, FAU’s terrifying offense broke a scoreless tie open with nine runs in the fifth inning en route to a 10-1 win over Middle Tennessee.
Gary Mattis, who is quickly becoming one of the top players in Conference USA, mashed his fifth home run of the year over the left field wall to break the tie.
“Gary, that ball was absolutely stung,” FAU coach John McCormack said. “Those are those home runs, those line drives, that just run out of room. It was fantastic.”
David Miranda singled Kevin Abraham home, paving the way for Stephen Kerr – finally healthy after a nagging oblique injury – to drive in Austin Langham and Tyler Frank.
“I thought the thing that turned the game around for us was Kerr’s double,” McCormack said. “We had three, that gave us five. That takes the pressure off everybody.”
Sean Labsan added another two runs with a single, while Esteban Puerta may have found the key to breaking out of his prolonged slump: a two-run home run, his lone hit of the day.
FAU sent 13 players to the plate in the fifth. At one point eight consecutive batters reached base.
Over their past 10 games, the Owls are averaging 10.2 runs per game.
Even before his offense came through with that nine-run inning, Alex House was pitching his best game of the season. House allowed one run in 7.2 innings, struck out five, and didn’t give up a walk.
“House was fantastic,” McCormack said. “He and I and the whole team have been waiting for this start where he can go deep into the game.”
GameBrowser: FAU (13-5-1, 2-0) 10, MTSU (8-10, 0-2) 1
Moving Forward: Every FAU starter recorded a hit. … Mattis and Miranda each had mulit-hit games. … FAU walked eight times. … Weston Clemente pitched a perfect ninth, striking Manuel Lopez out to end the game.
Sliding Backward: Umpires momentarily stopped play to warn FAU fans about taunts towards MTSU players and fans. …Feeling soreness in his ribs and back after running into the fence in the ninth inning on Friday night, Eric Rivera received a bit of a rest on Saturday when McCormack put him in left field. Mattis slid from left to center. …Eric Rivera committed two of the three outs in the fifth – but one was on a sacrifice.
Key Stat: 10 – times this season FAU has scored 10 runs or more in a game.
Moving Forward: FAU will try for the sweep tomorrow. First pitch is set for noon, with Jake Miednik getting the ball for the Owls.