Feb. 25, 2005
BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Purdue Nine made a grand effort in the season opener but came up short, falling to Florida Atlantic at FAU Field in front of a crowd of 274, 6-4. The Boilermakers, 0-1, are now 2-5 in season openers under head coach Doug Schreiber.
FAU, which opened the season two weeks ago ranked 28th in the nation, is now 5-2 on the young season.
Will Mann picked up the win for the Owls, improving his record to 1-1. Mann allowed three earned runs over six innings of work while striking out seven Boilermaker batters. Purdue reliever Jay Buente was saddled with the loss, yielding three runs in 1.1 innings on the hill.
The Boilermakers dodged the first bullet presented in the game, avoiding an FAU run after putting the first two batters on base in the second inning. A fielding error on a comebacker to the mound and a hit batter put runners on first and third to open the inning. However, Byrnes coaxed Alex Fonseca into a 4-6-3 double play and Jonathon Shapland grounded out to first to get out of the frame.
The Owls broke the scoreless tie in the third with two unearned runs. A leadoff single to center by Alex Silvermith opened the inning, and Mike McBryde reached on a dropped third strike gave FAU runners on first and second. With two down, back-to-back RBI singles by Brian Lipman and Jordan Hafer gave FAU the early 2-0 lead.
Another ducking of a bullet for the Boilermakers came in the bottom of the fourth as FAU loaded the bases with two down, but a soft fly ball to center got Purdue out of the inning unscathed. However, the third straight offensive scare by FAU forced Purdue starter Scott Byrnes from the mound following the inning.
The Boilermakers opened the sixth with an infield single by Neal Gorka and was followed by a sacrifice bunt by Mike Marx was kicked by the FAU first baseman to put runners on first and second. A fielder's choice forced Gorka out at third, but the Boilermakers were able to load the bases when Mitch Hilligoss beat out a bunt towards the left side of the infield. Purdue jumped on the scoreboard in grand fashion when Andy Dahl drilled the second pitch he saw deep over the left field wall for his second career grand slam at Purdue.
Dahl hit a grand slam last season in the Big Ten Tournament in Purdue's first round win over Michigan State.
The Boilermaker lead was short-lived as FAU answered in the home half of the sixth with three runs on three hits. An RBI single by Derek Hutton scored Fonseca and, with the bases loaded, Lipman ripped a base hit through the left side of the infield to plate pinch-runner Chris Akins and Hutton to give FAU a 5-4 advantage.
The Owls added an insurance run in the seventh off reliever Trae Dauby on a leadoff solo homer by Robbie Widlansky.
Up 6-4, the FAU bullpen took over as four Owl relievers held the Boilermakers off the scoreboard for the final three innings. The final hurler, Mickey Storey, posted the save for FAU, the first of his collegiate career.
Purdue and Florida Atlantic return to FAU Field on Saturday for a single game beginning at 1 p.m.