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No. 20 Miami Baseball Stumbles at FAU, 7-4

Feb. 23, 2011

fauheader022311.jpg
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E W: R. Garton (1-0)
Miami 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 0 1 4 9 2 L: S. Ewing (0-1)
FAU 3 1 0 0 1 0 0 2 x 7 8 0  
Batting

2B: N. Melendres, A. Hudak
HR: R. Rodriguez, A. Mee, E. Cassidy
RBI: R. Rodriguez (3), H. Martinez, A. Hudak (2), J. Burkhalter, E. Cassidy, A. Mee, R. Church
SB: R. Church

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Florida Atlantic University pushed four runs across in the opening two frames, never looking back en route to a 7-4 upset of visiting No. 20 University of Miami on Wednesday night in a non-conference baseball matchup played at FAU Baseball Stadium. Wednesday’s game was the first of five games in five days for the Hurricanes of UM.

With UMiami 18th-year head coach Jim Morris missing Wednesday’s contest due to a stomach illness – his first time missing an entire contest since at North Carolina in 2002 due to health complications at that time, Miami (2-2) used assistant head coach J.D. Arteaga at the helm against the Owls.

FAU (4-1) used three runs in the first inning and another run in the second to jump on UM starting pitcher, sophomore left-hander Steven Ewing, early-on. The Owls countered with their weekend ace Ryan Garton on the mound, a day after the Owls were defeated 13-2 by the top-ranked Florida Gators in Jupiter, Fla.

Ewing threw 50-plus pitches in the opening two innings as FAU waited patiently at the plate in their at-bats.

Right fielder Andy Mee began the three-run bottom of the first with a solo home run to right field that appeared to be caught at first by UMiami outfielder Chantz Mack. FAU’s Mark Nelson followed that with a single and advanced into scoring position on a wild pitch, before being brought around to score by Alex Hudak, also plating Eddie Cassidy on the two-run scoring double.

In the second, FAU struck again with second baseman Raymond Church singling through the right side to bring in Joey Burkhalter from second base, giving the Owls a 4-0 lead.

From there, Ewing appeared to settle down and completed the next 3 1/3 innings flawless until the bottom of the fifth when he was relieved by senior Michael Rudman. Rudman entered the game with runners in scoring position, as Church came in to score with the run being unearned (and charged to Ewing) due to an error earlier in the inning.

The Hurricanes found the scoring column in the sixth inning, using a three-run shot from designated hitter Rony Rodriguez to bring UM to within 5-3 with David Villasuso and Nathan Melendres also scoring on the homer from Rodriguez – his first of the campaign.

After FAU got an insurance run from Cassidy in the eighth, a leadoff shot to left field, and a RBI single from Burkhalter that crossed pinch runner Geoff Jimenez, the Owls took a 7-3 lead into the top-half of the ninth inning.

UM got a run from left fielder Zeke DeVoss on a RBI single by junior Harold Martinez, but FAU closed the game with a deep fly-out from freshman first baseman Brad Fieger with two men on to give FAU its first win over the ‘Canes since 2008.

The win went to Garton who was on a pitch count entering the game, as he went four innings, spreading out four hits, walking three and striking out three in the decision. The loss was tacked to UMiami’s Steve Ewing who dropped to 0-1 on the campaign after going 4 1/3 frames, allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

FAU was led at the plate by Church and Hudak each collecting two hits in four at-bats, with Hudak adding two RBI.

For the ‘Canes, it was DeVoss, Martinez and Villasuso all recording two hits on the night, while Rodriguez staked three RBI via the three-run homer in the sixth.

Miami will have little time to think about tonight’s loss as the ‘Canes host Appalachian State for a three-game series at Alex Rodriguez Park beginning Thursday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m.

For ticket information for the 2011 baseball season, call 1-800-GO-CANES or visit Hurricanesports.com.

For more information on the University of Miami baseball team, please log on to HurricaneSports.com. To follow the UM Baseball Team via twitter, please navigate to Twitter.com/CanesBaseball. You can also access the official UMiami Baseball blog at TheUBaseball.com.

You can keep up-to-date with all UM Athletics via twitter at Twitter.com/HurricaneSports.  You can also become a fan of the ‘Canes on Facebook at Facebook.com/MiamiHurricanes.