BOCA RATON, Fla. — Three different Florida Atlantic pitchers combined to shutout the Western Kentucky University baseball team Saturday afternoon in a 6-0 series-clinching victory for the Owls at FAU Baseball Stadium.
The shutout for WKU (19-28, 9-14 Sun Belt Conference) was the fourth of the season. Florida Atlantic (28-17, 16-5) took a 5-0 lead after three innings and added an insurance run in the eighth.
Hilltoppers left-hander Tim Bado (4-5) gave up five runs on five hits in three innings with a pair of walks and three strikeouts.
Owls starter Kevin Alexander (5-0) worked six shutout innings, allowing four hits with four strikeouts and did not issue a walk. Relievers Kenny Sharpe and Bo Logan allowed two hits over the final three innings.
WKU sophomore Scott Wilcox reached base three times, singling in the first, being hit by a pitch in the third and drawing a walk in the eighth. Five different Hilltoppers also recorded a hit, including center fielder Jared Andreoli and first baseman Ryan Huck, who had a double.
Andreoli’s third-inning single tied the senior for fourth on the career hits list with former Hilltopper Chris Turner (1988-91).
The Owls took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Mark Nelson.
Florida Atlantic extended its advantage to 3-0 with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second. An RBI double by shortstop Mitch Morales and a sacrifice fly by second baseman Mike Albaladejo accounted for the scoring.
A two-run bottom of the third by FAU pushed the score to 5-0. Right fielder Corey Keller led off the inning with a solo home run and first baseman Mark Nelson came in to score on balk by Bado.
The Owls added a run in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI single by catcher Mike Spano to make the score 6-0.
WKU stranded the bases loaded in the third inning and left two runners on again in the eighth.
Freshman left-hander Ian Tompkins gave up one hit in 3-1/3 shutout innings in relief, issuing two walks and striking out three. Right-hander Tate Glasscock was touched for a run on three hits with a walk and a strikeout in 1-1/3 innings.
The two teams will return to action in the weekend finale at 11:30 a.m. Sunday. Sophomore right-hander Justin Hageman (2-5, 6.17 ERA) will take the mound for the Hilltoppers against Owls freshman left-hander Austin Gomber (3-3, 3.56).