Boca Raton, Fla. — Jeff Beliveau allowed just three hit in seven innings, and Florida Atlantic combined to score seven runs in the fourth and fifth innings en route to a 10-5 win over the Western Kentucky University baseball team Sunday afternoon in the finale of a three-game Sun Belt Conference series at FAU Stadium.
The loss dropped the Hilltoppers to 24-19 overall and 11-10 in the Sun Belt, while FAU improved to 25-17 and 12-7 in the league as it took two of the three games on the weekend.
The Owls stranded seven runners through the first three inning against Hilltopper starter Colby Beach, but were unable to push a run across in their first three at bats. However, that changed quickly with two outs in the fourth as on consecutive pitches David Wilson singled and Jeremy Griffiths homered to right to give Florida Atlantic at 2-0 lead. The Owls were able to extend that lead in the following inning when a Tom Hatcher double down the line in left plated William Block to make it a 3-0 game and end the day for Beach.
That hit ended the day for Beach (2-2) as he went 4.1 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits, and striking out four.
Evan Teague relieved Beach in the fifth, and allowed a two-out, two-run single to Troy Bubley as FAU jumped out to a 5-0 lead. A pair of singles by Griffiths and Mike McKenna off Ben Paxton drove in two more runs and give the Owls a seven-run lead.
Beliveau held the Toppers hitless through the first five innings before he walked Scott Kaskie and gave up a single to Wade Gaynor to start the WKU sixth. After Chad Cregar was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Terrence Dayleg lifted a sacrifice fly to plate Kaskie with the first Hilltopper run of the afternoon. Beliveau would limit the damage, however, as he retired the next two batters to get out of the inning allowing just the one run.
A Jeremy Coleman leadoff walk and a Jake Wells double set the table for another WKU scoring inning in the seventh. A Matt Payton groundout chased home Coleman with the first run of the inning. Scott Kaskie then singled to left to drive home Wells and make it a 7-3 game.
Beliveau (4-3) would leave after throwing 7.0 innings, allowing just the three runs on three hits, while striking out eight.
WKU again loaded the bases with nobody out as Chris Schmitt gave up a leadoff single to Dayleg before walking Matt Hightower and J.B. Paxson. Coleman then followed with a two-run single off Brett Cannon to make it a 7-5 game and put the tying run on base. However, Cannon was able to retire three straight to end the threat.
FAU added some insurance in the eighth as Alex Silversmith hit a pinch-hit three-run homer on the first pitch from reliever Garrie Krueger to stretch the lead to 10-5.
Cannon retired the Toppers in order in the ninth to pick up his first save of the year. No Hilltopper posted more than one hit, as they were held to five as team. Coleman finished with a team-high two RBI with his eighth-inning single. McKenna collected three hits for FAU, while Griffiths and Silversmith finished with a game-high three RBI.
The Hilltoppers continue their season-long seven-game roadtrip on Wednesday (April 30) as they visit Louisville for a 5 p.m. (CDT) game at Jim Patterson Stadium.