MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. – Despite scoring four runs in the final three innings, the West Virginia University baseball was not able to fully comeback from a deficit, falling 6-5 to Florida Atlantic on Sunday afternoon at TicketReturn.com Field.
Down 6-3 heading into the ninth, catcher Max Nogay
led off with a double down the left field line. Back-to-back singles by center fielder Bobby Boyd
and right fielder Taylor Munden
loaded the bases for second baseman Billy Fleming
. Fleming hit into a double play, scoring Nogay from third to bring the score to 6-4. Left fielder Jacob Rice
continued the rally with a single through the left side to score Munden from third, before a pop out by shortstop Michael Constantini
ended the game.
“The thing we do the best is compete and we’re always going to compete,” coach Randy Mazey says. “We tried to grind it out in the last inning; we pulled together a good inning with the game on the line. I never doubt this team’s effort, we just had some breaks.”
Munden, Rice and designated hitter Matt Frazer
each had two hits to lead the Mountaineers offensively, while Boyd had two RBIs and two stolen bases.
“They hit a lot of balls places we weren’t playing on the ground with men on base,” Mazey says. “When we had men on base it seemed we hit our hardest ground balls right at them.”
WVU starter Dan Dierdorff
held FAU hitless through three innings with six strikeouts before running into trouble. Dierdorff completed his afternoon allowing two runs on six hits in 5.0 innings. He struck out six and walked one.
After going scoreless through three innings, each team put a run on the board in the fourth inning, starting with a sacrifice fly by WVU third baseman Ryan Tuntland
to score Frazer. Frazer led off the top of the fourth with his second double of the game.
FAU used three hits, including their first hit of the game, in the bottom of the frame to tie the game at 1-1. The Owls went for the go-ahead run, trying to score Corey Keller from second, but Rice picked up an outfield assist and threw Keller out at home.
A three-run sixth inning by FAU put the Owls ahead 4-1, highlighted by a Mitch Morales single up the middle, scoring Keller and Billy Endris.
WVU clawed back with a run in the seventh and eighth innings, bringing the score to 4-3. Boyd hit into a fielder’s choice in the seventh, scoring Tuntland from third, while McBroom hit a ground rule double down the left field line to score Rice in the eighth.
The Owls extended their lead to 6-3 in the bottom half of the eighth after Levi Meyer hit into what looked to be a double play, but an error extended the inning, allowing FAU to score two runs.
Jeremy Strawn went 5.1 innings for FAU, allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Morales and Geoff Jimenez each had two hits to lead the Owls.
WVU will open its home season at Hawley on Tuesday, March 5 at 3 p.m. against Eastern Kentucky. Live stats will be available through WVUsports.com. Tickets cost $5 for adults, $3 for seniors and youths 18 and under and WVU students are admitted free with a valid student ID.