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Birdball Upset Bid Falls Short in Extras, 3-2

Eagles tie game in the ninth, but FAU wins on walkoff double in the 11th.

Jim Pierce

It's never good to lose a game, but this was as good a loss as they came.

Gabriel Hernandez hit an RBI single to tie the game at 2-2, but Billy Endris hit a walkoff double in the bottom of the 11th as Florida Atlantic topped Boston College, 3-2, in a non-conference baseball game on Tuesday night in Boca Raton, Florida. BC rallied in the game from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits late in order to force extras off the ultra-talented FAU pitching staff.

After allowing no hits through his first two innings, freshman Mike King allowed three straight singles to Endris, Brendon Senger, and Stephen Kerr. He nearly got out of the inning when he induced a groundball to second off the bat of Tyler Rocklein, but the first run scored to put the Owls up 1-0.

It remained 1-0 into the eighth, when BC, who had struggled to plate runs all game, finally put one across. John Hennessy singled for his third of three hits in the ballgame, then moved to second after catcher Levi Meyer committed an error. After Chris Shaw struck out swinging for the second out, Logan Hoggarth hit a shallow fly that dropped in. Hennessy, on his horse, turned the corner and scored from second to tie the game at 1-1 against Bo Logan. Logan had previously not allowed a run in 10 innings thrown across five appearances.

FAU jumped back on top in the bottom of the frame, though. After Rocklein grounded to second to start the inning, Ricky Santiago singled and moved up a base via a wild pitch against relief pitcher Luke Fernandes. He would score when Meyer singled up the middle. That chased Fernandes from the game in favor of Jesse Adams; Adams induced an unassisted double play back to himself to end the inning with the Owls up, 2-1.

In the ninth, FAU turned to closer Kevin Alexander, but he blew the save as the Birdballers manufactured another tying run. Johnny Adams walked to open up the inning, then was sacrificed over when pinch hitter Nick Colucci bunted him over a bag. Nick Sciortino walked to put runners on first and second, which set up Hernandez's game-tying RBI single to right. Travis Ferrick, sent in as a pinch runner for Sciortino before the Hernandez at-bat, eventually moved to third when Alexander induced a fly ball off the bat off Hennessy, but Blake Butera struck out to end the threat.

In the 10th, FAU had a chance to end the game by putting runners on first and second with just one out, but John Nicklas induced two outs against Santiago and Meyer to get out of the jam. He wasn't as lucky in the 11th; after getting the first two outs, CJ Chatham doubled down the right field line, then scored when Endris doubled on a ball he crushed to right center to end the game.

It was a mind-numbingly good performance by the Eagles, who rallied twice and put more than a scare into a team that should've dominated them. While they still left men on base with 11, they managed ten hits against a very good Owl pitching staff that struck out 11 hitters. Hennessy went 3-for-4 with a run scored, and Hoggarth went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Chris Shaw had another base hit to extend his hitting streak to 11 games to open up the season, and freshman phenom Johnny Adams had a hit and a run scored.

On the hill, Nicklas took the loss, but there was absolutely nothing for BC to hang their heads on. Mike King pitched four strong innings, striking out five and walking just two while allowing one run on three hits. Fernandes threw 3.1 innings, giving up just two hits and only allowing a run in the eighth while running out of steam. He struck out three. And Adams contributed 1.2 innings of no-hit baseball, striking out an additional two.

They arguably outperformed an FAU pitching staff that used seven men. Bo Logan gave up two hits and a run, and Alexander blew the save by giving up a run on one hit and walking two while striking out one. Sean Labsan got the start and struck out three in four innings, but he also walked three.

BC fell to 6-5 with the loss, while FAU improved to 9-3. BC fell to 1-1 in extra inning games.

The two teams will battle once more at FAU Baseball Stadium on Wednesday night. First pitch is slated for 6:30 PM.

Mike Gambino on his team after the extra innings loss:

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Gambino After 11-Inning Loss (via Bird Ball)