BOCA RATON, Fla. (4/22/12) — The Arkansas State Red Wolves took a 2-1 lead into the sixth inning, but after sitting through a rain delay of almost an hour-and-a-half, ASU committed three errors in the top of the sixth, and the Florida Atlantic Owls (25-14, 13-3) capitalized with five runs to hand the Red Wolves (21-18, 10-6) a 6-2 defeat at FAU Stadium. All six of FAU's runs in the game were unearned.
The game was the only game played in the scheduled three-game weekend series after the first two were rained out. Florida Atlantic and ASU went into the series at 1-2 in the Sun Belt Conference standings, and the Owls remain on top after improving to 13-3 in league play (25-14 overall), while ASU slips to 10-6 in Sun Belt Conference action and 21-18 overall.
Arkansas State senior Jacob Lee became the Red Wolves' career strikeout leader in the game, fanning five batters in five innings of work before his day ended with the lengthy rain delay. Lee finished the day with 255 career strikeouts, giving up one unearned run on two hits with a pair of walks.
Lee tied the strikeout record of 251 set by Rusty Bourg from 1967-70 when he struck out FAU left fielder Nathan Pittman in the first, then struck out center fielder Geoff Jimenez in the second to set the new record of 252.
The Red Wolves took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second when left fielder Logan Uxa led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a single from third baseman Claude Johnson, advanced to third on a sacrifice bunt from designated hitter Ryan Emery, and scored on an FAU throwing error on the play. Florida Atlantic answered in the second when first baseman Mark Nelson doubled and eventually scored on a passed ball to tie the game at 1-1.
A solo home run to lead off the fifth from ASU shortstop Dustin Jones put the Red Wolves back on top at 2-1 before rain interrupted play for the second time, after one pitch was thrown in the sixth.
When play resumed following the one hour-and-25 minute delay, Florida Atlantic took advantage of two ASU errors and a walk to load the bases with no outs, and a two-run single from Nelson put the Owls on top 3-2. A single from catcher Mike Spano and a third ASU error in the inning allowed two more runs to score, and a hit batsman with the bases loaded sent home the fifth run of the inning to increase the Owl advantage to 6-2.
Following FAU's five-run sixth inning, Arkansas State managed to get two runners aboard in the seventh, but that was as close as the Red Wolves would get, going down1-2-3 in the eighth and ninth.
Junior John Koch (0-1) took the loss on the mound for ASU, giving up five runs in two-thirds of an inning. Koch allowed two hits, walked three, hit one batter and struck out one. R.J. Alvarez (4-0) came on for FAU starter Ryan Garton in the sixth and worked two innings to pick up the win, striking out two while allowing no runs on one hit, with one walk.
Left fielder Collin Massanelli went 2-for-4 to lead ASU at the plate, while Nelson was 2-for-4 with two RBIs to lead the Owls.
The Red Wolves will be back in action April 27 when ASU travels to Murfreesboro, Tenn. for a three-game Sun Belt Conference series against the Blue Raiders of Middle Tennessee State. Friday's series opener is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.