|Niner Offense Stymied in 8-0 Loss at FAU|
BOCA RATON, Fla. – Florida Atlantic starter Jeremy Strawn through a complete game three-hitter leading the Owls to an 8-0 shutout victory over Charlotte in Conference USA baseball action on Saturday afternoon. T.J. Nichting managed two of the Niners three hits in the loss as Strawn sat down a stretch of 14-straight through the middle part of Saturday’s tilt adding a career-best six strikeouts in the win.
“He (Strawn) was really good,” said Head Coach Loren Hibbs. “He was able to sink his fastball, had three pitches in the zone, and we weren’t very good offensively. We got off to a bad start and were playing uphill all day.”
Nichting led off with a single in the second and eighth innings on Saturday while Des Roberts had the other Niner hit with a double in the eighth. The Charlotte (8-24-1, 1-13 C-USA) eighth was the only inning where multiple base runners were on at the same time.
“We’re halfway through the season and these guys are going to have to get better,” continued Hibbs. “We’ve got a lot of guys that need to make improvements. We’re going to keep grinding through it and keep working to get these guys the best we can.”
Reliever Matt Davis had the best pitching performance for the Niners tossing two innings allowing one hit amongst a career-high five strikeouts.
“He’s gotten better. He listens every day and we feel like he’s a guy that’s got a chance with some of his offspeed pitches to keep getting better.”
FAU (19-15, 7-10 C-USA) jumped on the board early as Stephen Kerr and Mitch Morales led off with back-to-back singles, later scoring on a wild pitch and Brendon Sanger double to right-center. In a three-run third, Ricky Santiago doubled home Morales who led off with a hit by pitch before Tyler Rocklein delivered an opposite field two-run blast for a 5-0 advantage.
More insurance for the Owls came in the fourth as Morales and Sanger each collected another RBI on a single and double while Rackelin ended the day with another FAU RBI-double in the seventh. Sanger led all Owls with three hits on the day as eight of the nine starters had at-least one hit while everyone reached base at-least once.
The three hits for Charlotte set a new season-low after picking up just four hits last weekend against Evansville.
The third and final game of this Conference USA weekend series will take place at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. RHP Brock Hudgens (0-4, 3.94) will go to the bump trying to help Charlotte salvage the series-finale at 12:00 p.m. Florida Atlantic will send RHP Drew Jackson (4-0, 2.52) to the mound. Live audio/stats will be provided through http:///www.charlotte49ers.com. In-game updated will also be provided via Twitter following @49erGameDay and @Charlotte49ers.