With the help of a late offensive surge, Miami (4-0) was able to pull off its first road victory of the year. Freshman David Thompson's first career homerun in the top of the eighth helped force extras, while Brad Fieger’s RBI single in the top of the 11th inning proved to be the gamewinner.
Thompson's homerun, crushed over the leftfield wall off Owls' closer Hugh Adams, was the first of the Hurricanes' season. The Miami, Fla., native reached base three times on the night, including the decisive 11th inning, when he led off the frame with a walk. Freshman pinch-runner Chris Barr advanced to third on two groundouts, and eventually scored on Fieger's single through the right side of the infield.
The game moved deeper into extras thanks in large part to junior outfielder Tyler Palmer, who saved the night with an impressive diving grab. With a man on second base and two outs, FAU's Levi Meyer flared a ball into left field that had a chance to plate the winning run. But Palmer extended for the catch, snaring the ball just before it hit the ground.
Making his first career start, freshman Thomas Woodrey delivered a solid outing on the mound at FAU Baseball Stadium. The Lighthouse Point, Fla., native scattered seven hits through his 4.2 innings of work, walking one and striking out five.
It was the hosts who struck first, notching a run in the bottom of the second inning on an RBI single from senior Nathan Pittman. With a runner on second and two outs, Woodrey allowed a walk to junior infielder Sean Murrell. After making an impressive diving catch in the first inning, Pittman then drove in the game's first run on a single to the leftfield gap. Woodrey escaped any further damage by inducing a flyout from catcher Levi Meyer to end the inning.
The Hurricane offense struggled early, as Owls' freshman Nathan Rhodes set down eight of the first ten Miami batters. Fieger broke the streak with a one-out single in the third inning, one of only six hits allowed by Rhodes in his first collegiate start.
Miami threatened in the fifth, as Alex San Juan (single) and Michael Broad (single) gave the Hurricanes two runners on with two outs. But a flyout from Brandon Lopez to shallow rightfield ended the threat. A two-run homerun from FAU's Tyler Rocklein in the bottom half of the inning would signal the end of Woodrey's night, as the southpaw departed with his team facing a 3-0 deficit.
The Canes finally broke through in the sixth, as Tyler Palmer opened the frame with a double and junior Alex Hernandez followed up with a single. With runners on the corners, Mack hit a ball that landed just fair in right field. Palmer scored easily, but Hernandez was tagged out at home on a nice defensive relay from FAU. Mack, who took third on the throw, would later score on a wild pitch from reliever Michael Sylvestri, cutting the deficit to 3-2.
After Thompson's eighth-inning blast, the Hurricanes' bullpen bent but did not break to force extra innings. Junior closer AJ Salcines loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but senior Eric Nedeljkovic (1-0) induced a groundout of Rocklein to end the threat. The Folsom, Calif., native pitched two more scoreless innings, clinching Miami's fourth-straight win to open the season.
The Hurricanes return to the diamond Friday when they take on visiting Milwaukee in a weekend series. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. from Alex Rodriguez Park at Mark Light Field.