Salem Paces Tide Past FAU, 5-2

Boca Raton, Fla. – In the first road game of the 2013 season, the Alabama Crimson Tide used a three-run eighth inning to post a 5-2 victory over the Florida Atlantic Owls on Friday night from the FAU Baseball Stadium. With the win, the Tide improves to 5-0 on the season and the Owls fall to 3-2.

"The key to the game was that we had good offensive pressure throughout the game," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We were sitting with one hit towards the middle of the game, but we had a lot of quality at-bats and hit a lot of balls hard, but they just didn't fall. Overall we had good offensive pressure in seven of the nine innings."

Georgie Salem paced the Crimson Tide offense with a 3-for-5 night that included three singles and an RBI. Kenny Roberts was 2-for-3 with an RBI, a walk and a run scored, Austen Smith got his first hit of the season, a two-out RBI single in the seventh to tie the game at 2-2. Ben Moore delivered the eventual game-winning RBI when he singled off the right field wall with the bases loaded and no outs in the eighth.

Tucker Hawley threw two innings of scoreless relief of Charley Sullivan, and was the benefactor of the three-run eighth, as he improved to 2-0 on the year. After Keaton Haack allowed a pair of runners to reach in the ninth, Jake Hubbard got a game-ending double play to earn his second save of the year. Florida Atlantic reliever Andrew Archer (0-1) took the loss, after allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits in one inning of work.

Alabama starting pitcher Charley Sullivan did not factor into the decision after throwing 5.0 innings, allowing two unearned runs on five hits with a career-high six strikeouts and no walks. Florida Atlantic starter Austin Gomber threw 6.0 innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

"Both starters had good night, but offensively for us we were able to get they're guys pitch count up and in the middle part of the game, but he did a good job battling. Sullivan did the same thing for us and got us through five, then our bullpen did a nice job to keep things settled. This really was a good ball game tonight."

Florida Atlantic got on the scoreboard first with a pair of unearned runs in the second inning. The first came across on a controversial call at home plate when Sullivan tried to cut down Geoff Jimenez at home on a bunt. Later that inning, the Owls had runners on the corners, but a wild pitch on a swinging third strike to Levi Meyer allowed Mitch Morales to score from third.

Alabama answered in the top of the third when an infield groundout by Salem plated Ryan Blanchard. Blanchard walked to open the inning and advanced to third on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt to first base.

The Tide got the first two batters in the seventh inning aboard when Ben Moore and Roberts walked and singled, respectively. A failed sacrifice bunt attempt and a strikeout followed, before Smith delivered a two out RBI single to right field to score Roberts from second, for Smith's first hit of the season.

Bama took the lead after scoring three times in the eighth inning. After a single by Salem, a walk by White and an error on an Overstreet ground ball, Moore delivered a single off the right field wall to score Salem to make the score 3-2. Roberts followed with a single to center to plate White and Booth pushed another run across when he grounded into a double play, scoring Overstreet.

In the FAU ninth, the Owls had runners on the corners with one out before Hubbard entered the game. On a 3-2 pitch, Hubbard got Geoff Jimenez to ground into a game-ending double play.

Alabama and Florida Atlantic will continue the series on Saturday, with first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m. CT, from the FAU Baseball Stadium. Alabama is scheduled to start sophomore lefty Jon Keller (1-0, 6.75) and the Owls will counter with senior right-hander Jake Meiers (1-0, 3.60).

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