Auburn Rally Falls Short
May 31, 2002
TUSCALOOSA-Auburn rallied from a 10-run first-inning deficit to tie the game in the third inning, however, Florida Atlantic scored six runs en route to a 16-11 victory over the Tigers in the first round of the NCAA Tuscaloosa Regional, Friday afternoon. The Tigers dropped to 34-25, while the Owls improved to 44-18.
Auburn's rally started in the first inning as Bobby Huddleston hit a three-run home run to left field. After Scott Schade struck out to lead off the second inning, the next three batters reached safely before freshman Sean Gamble's blast over the right-field fence, for his first career grand slam, cut the FAU lead to three runs.
The Tigers tied the game in the third inning courtesy of three unearned runs. Schade led off with a single and Matt Grooms doubled before Florida Atlantic third baseman Mike Cox made a one-out throwing error while attempting to throw Schade out at home. Grooms scored on Gamble's sacrifice fly and Javon Moran tied the game with a RBI single scoring Jonathan Schuerholz.
The Owls took the lead for good in the fourth inning on back-to-back solo home runs by L.J. Biernbaum and Rusty Brown. Biernbaum hit his second home run in as many at-bats in the sixth and FAU added three runs in the seventh.
The Tigers will play Saturday morning in an elimination game against the loser of Friday evening's Alabama-Southeast Missouri State game. First pitch is set for 11 a.m. CT.
Florida Atlantic's 10-run first inning was highlighted by a three-run home run by Mike Cox and a grand slam from Gabe Somarriba. Somarriba finished with six RBIs, while Biernbaum went 5-for-5 to lead FAU.
Javon Moran tied an Auburn regional record with a 5-for-5 effort, while scoring a pair of runs. Gamble's career-best five RBIs and tied a school regional mark. The last AU player with five RBIs in a regional was Frank Thomas against Seton Hall in 1987.
Tom MacLane (4-2) was credited with the win for FAU after allowing one run on four hits in six innings of relief. Owls' starter Travis NeSmith allowed seven runs on six hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Auburn reliever Cory Dueitt (3-2) was credited with the loss after giving up four runs on six hits in 2 2/3 innings. Levale Speigner surrendered five runs after facing five batters in the first inning.
Andrew Skinner, Arnold Hughey, Ken Clayton and Mike Mueller each saw action out of the bullpen for the Tigers.