Known more for their late inning heroics, FAU (30-17-1, 16-10) scored four runs in the first three innings on Saturday en route to a 5-3 win over Western Kentucky (15-36, 5-21).
The win snaps a four-game losing streak, which tied the longest such streak the Owls have had this season. It also clinched a berth for the Owls in the upcoming Conference USA tournament.
With two outs in the top of the first inning, David Miranda took a 1-1 pitch over the right field wall for his 11th home run of the season. FAU put the first two runners of the game on base after a Tyler Frank walk and a Jared Shouppe single, but Esteban Puerta’s double play left Frank as the only runner on base for Miranda’s homer.
Frank would score again in the top of the third inning on an RBI double by Shouppe, who was driven in on a first-pitch RBI single from Miranda. That would be the second of four total hits on the day for Miranda, arguably the Owls’ most consistent bat this season.
Miranda’s single drove Hilltoppers starter Paul Kirkpatrick out of the game after only two innings and 45 pitches. FAU would score its final run in the top of the seventh inning on Frank’s 10th home run of the season.
Frank, Shouppe, Puerta, and Miranda combined to go 10-for-17 from the top of the Owls’ lineup.
GameBrowser: FAU 5, WKU 3
Moving Forward: While he only pitched five innings, Blake Sanderson was electric on the mound, striking out seven without issuing a walk. Sanderson threw 58 of his 82 pitches for strikes. … FAU hitters only struck out twice… Drew Peden, pitching the ninth inning rather than Cameron Ragsdale, worked around a lead-off single to strike out two and seal the win.
Sliding Backward: For as efficient as the top of FAU’s lineup was, the middle struggled on Saturday as Austin Langham, Stephen Kerr, and Jordan Poore combined to go 0-11 in the four through six spots… FAU only walked twice, with both of those coming in the first two innings.
Key Stat: 13 – Strikeouts by FAU’s pitching.
Up Next: FAU will try for a series win on Sunday in their final ‘true’ road game of the regular season. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.