Big sixth inning lifts FAU over Troy State

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 10, 2002

Sports Writer

Troy State head baseball coach John Mayotte knew how important big innings were to Florida Atlantic.

The Blue Wave used a five-run fourth inning and a three-run sixth to help knock off the Trojans 10-5 Friday.

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But TSU and starter Aaron Hunt avoided the big inning for the first five innings of game two of the series Saturday, clinging to a 2-1 advantage.

Unfortunately for the Trojans and Hunt, the Blue Wave broke through with a typical explosion in the sixth.

FAU scored five runs in the inning to grab a 6-2 lead and TSU couldn’t recover, falling to the Blue Wave, 7-2. The loss was the second in a row for the Trojans, who have lost seven of its last 10 games.

"Characteristically, that’s been the case with Florida Atlantic the whole season," Mayotte said of the five-run sixth. "It seems like they don’t score in a lot of innings, but they score runs in just a few innings, two or three innings. They’ve followed suit in this series so far."

The third and final game of the series was postponed after over an hour rain delay with TSU trailing FAU 3-1 in the top of third. The game will resume today at 1:00.

After the Blue Wave took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, Drew Miller tied the game in the bottom half of the inning with a one-out home run to center and Coby Smith’s RBI single scored Casey O’Quinn in the bottom of the fourth as TSU opened a 2-1 lead. Smith’s single extended his hitting streak to 17 games. Wade Miller’s season-long 17-game hitting streak came to an end with an 0-for-3 performance.

FAU got to Hunt in the sixth with four straight hits to open the inning. Justin Morgan relieved Hunt and was touched for a double and two sacrifice flies before Bobby Spano grounded out to end the inning. Hunt took the loss and fell to 2-3 on the season, pitching five-plus innings, surrendering five runs on seven hits.

"We took the 2-1 lead and had runners at first and third with two outs and our number three hitter up and we didn’t deliver and they got some key hits both days," Mayotte said. "Baseball, to me, is getting a lot of clutch, two-out type basehits. When the pressure was on, they delivered and we didn’t."

The Trojans struggled to find a rhythm for most of the game as preseason All-A-Sun pick Daniel Core kept the TSU attack in check for his first win of the season. Core tossed seven innings, allowing two runs on four hits while fanning five.

"He threw a good game," Drew Miller said, "but there isn’t any reason why we shouldn’t have hit him."

FAU added an insurance run in the seventh for the final margin. LJ Biernbaum followed a 1-for-4 performance Friday with a 4-for-4 showing Saturday, proving why he was chosen as the 45th best senior prospect in the nation. The Blue Wave won its fourth straight game, outscoring its opponents 63-16 over that span, and have won nine of its last 11.