May 25, 2013 7:46 PM by Sun Belt Sports
LAFAYETTE, La. - Fourth-seeded Florida Atlantic became the first team in the 2013 Sun Belt Conference Baseball Tournament to punch its ticket to Sunday's Championship with a 5-4 win over eighth-seeded and upset-minded Arkansas State.
FAU (38-20) won its tenth consecutive game but it was not without a scare. Up 5-2 heading into the top of the ninth inning, the Owls brought on the SBC all-time saves leader Hugh Adams for a save opportunity. ASU's Alex Potts singled up the middle to opening the inning, then Dustin Jones doubled to right-center advancing Potts to third.
Kevin Fitzpatrick, who was 4-for-4 on the day, reached base all five times he stepped up to the plate, singled to the left scoring Potts from third to cut into FAU's lead, 5-3. Ryan Emery hit a deep sacrifice fly to left scoring Jones who advanced to third on Fitzpatrick's single. Fitzpatrick was also able to advance to second on the sacrifice. FAU's Adams then walked Stuart Levy. Ryan Roberts would then single through the left side with Fitzpatrick trying to score from second.
FAU's Geoff Jimenez came up throwing and gunned down Fitzpatrick at home. Adams was able to get ASU's Logan Uxa to groundout to first ending the threat and the game.
"When you make a throw like that you feel it right away. I had that feeling, and when I looked up Levi Meyer caught the ball and I knew the runner was definitely out," said Jimenez, a junior from Pembroke Pines, Fla. "We were hot coming in and we wanted to take out as many teams as we could and keep rolling."
With the win FAU moves onto Sunday's finale to face the winner of the Louisiana-Lafayette/South Alabama game. USA needs to defeat the Cajuns twice to face the Owls on Sunday while the Cajuns need just one win to advance.
Jake Meiers of FAU earned the win tossing five innings, allowing two earned runs and striking out four. Adams picked up the save to give the big right-hander 17 on the season.
ASU finishes the season 28-31.
FAU got on the board first in the second inning as Brendon Sanger, who singled in the inning, scored on a Levi Meyer double to right-center.
ASU would answer in the top of the third with two runs of its own. Potts and Fitzpatrick scored for the Red Wolves on a single by Emery and a sac-fly by Levy. Potts singled to open the inning and was advanced to second on a sac-bunt by Jones. Fitzpatrick then singled to right moving Potts to third. Emery then singled to right scoring Potts and advancing Fitzpatrick to third. Levy's sacrifice fly scored Fitzpatrick from third.
FAU went back on top in the bottom of the fourth. Sanger opened the inning with a leadoff home run over the right-field wall. Corey Keller singled on a bunt and advanced to second on a throwing error by the pitcher. Another sac-bunt attempt by Meyer advanced Keller to third. Mitch Morales singled scoring Keller from third with Morales advancing to second on a errant throw by the first baseman. A failed pickoff attempt moved Morales to third. Nathan Pittman was hit by a pitch putting runners on the corners. A double-steal attempt and error allowed Morales to score from third. Pittman would be thrown out at third on an attempted steal.
The Owls plated another run in the bottom of the fifth providing an insurance run for FAU.