Troy falls to FAU, 7-3

Published 10:59 pm Friday, April 27, 2012

TROY UNIVERSITY – Chase Mathis and Austin Golden hit home runs, but it was not enough as Florida Atlantic defeated Troy 7-3 Friday night to take the opening game of the Sun Belt Conference series at Riddle-Pace Field.

The Owls, who entered the weekend with a three-game lead at the top of the Sun Belt standings, broke open a 3-2 game with three runs in the seventh.

A one-out walk to Mark Nelson was followed by a double by Kyle Newton to put a pair of runners in scoring position. Alex Hudak and Mike Spano followed with back-to-back singles to score a run each. Following the second out of the inning, Mitch Morales drove in the third run of the frame with an infield single.

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Mathis’ second homer of the season tied the game at 2-all in the second inning after Jo-El Bennett kept the inning alive with a two-out walk. Florida Atlantic reliever Ahmed Garcia was living dangerously throughout his two innings of work as four Trojans nearly took him deep before Golden hit a pinch-hit, two-out home run in the ninth.

Jakob Nixon finished 2-for-3 on the night and was the only Trojan with multiple hits. Nelson and Morales both had three hits to lead Florida Atlantic.

The Owls (26-15, 14-3 Sun Belt) scored the game’s first two runs on a Nelson single in the first and a sacrifice fly from Geoff Jimenez in the second. Newton gave Florida Atlantic the lead for good with a two-out double in the third; the Owls had five doubles in the game. A bases-loaded balk in the ninth gave the Owls their final run of the night.

Florida Atlantic starter Ryan Garton flirted with trouble throughout the early innings of the game. Troy had runners on the corners and nobody out in the first, but a double play on a sacrifice fly attempt ended that threat. The Trojans (18-24, 6-13) loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth and Boone Shear hit a screaming line drive, but it was right at Newton at third.

Garton (8-2) picked up the win for Florida Atlantic. He allowed a pair of runs on five hits over seven innings of work, while walking four and striking out eight.

Tyler Ray (3-5) set the Troy school record for games started as he made his 56th career start in a Troy uniform Friday night. The senior right-hander was charged with the loss after allowing six runs on 13 hits in seven innings. He struck out five and walked two.

Game two of the series is set for 6 p.m. today.