LAFAYETTE, La. – Tyler Rocklein hit a two-run home run in the top of the 10th inning as fourth-seeded Florida Atlantic defeated top-seeded Troy 3-1 on Friday at the Sun Belt Conference Baseball Championship at M.L. “Tigue” Moore Field.
Rocklein, a junior from Bradenton, Fla., hit a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left center for FAU (37-20) for his ninth homer of the year. Mark Nelson scored on the play after a single to right field.
“I just got in there after Nelson got the single and was seeing if I could get a pitch up that I could get the barrel to. He left one up and I was able to get some extension on it and drive it out of the park,” said Rocklein. “I was sitting on a curveball, it’s his best pitch.”
The game began on Thursday at 4:00 p.m. CT, but was suspended until Friday morning due to lightning. When play resumed in the top of the ninth inning, FAU was batting with two outs and a runner on first with the score tied 1-1.
“This is a huge win because now we get the rest of the day off while they have to come back and play again today. It saves our pitching and whoever wins later has to beat us twice tomorrow which is a hard thing to do with our team,” said Rocklein. “Last night we felt we had the momentum so we tried to bring it into today’s game. We are pretty excited about this win.”
Hugh Adams (1-0) picked up the win for the Owls with two scoreless innings. Jeremy Strawn got the start for FAU and threw six innings. He allowed just one run on four hits and struck out five. Kevin Alexander also tossed two innings of relief.
Tanner Hicks (8-3) took the loss for Troy (40-17) after striking out three in three innings. Shane McCain started and fired four innings of shutout ball with a pair of strikeouts. Thomas Austin and Nate Hill pitched 0.2 and 2.1 innings, respectively, out of the bullpen.
The Owls broke a scoreless game in the fifth inning on a one-out single by Nathan Pittman through the right side. The hit scored Ricky Santiago who had singled up the middle, advanced to second on a walk and moved to third on a wild pitch.
The Trojans knotted it up, 1-1, on a double in the left field corner by Trae Santos in the sixth inning. Logan Pierce scored from first base after leading off the frame with a walk.
Pierce led Troy at the plate with two hits, a walk and a run scored.
FAU will play again at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday, while the Troy will come back and play Arkansas State at 4:00 p.m. Friday in an elimination game.