Owls Swept by No. 5 North Carolina

North Carolina scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning, the final two runs were courtesy of Tim Fedroff first-pitch home run, to beat the Owls 8-7 on Sunday at the FAU Stadium.

The win gave the Tar Heels (3-0), the fifth ranked team in the country, a three game sweep over the Owls (0-3), who remain winless on the season.

FAU got the scoring started in the bottom of the first by taking advantage of some sloppy Tar Heels’ defense. Daniel Cook started off the game with a bunt hit, that pitcher Rob Catapano air-mailed into right field. After being moved over to third base by an Alex Silversmith ground out, Cook scored on a William Block groundout giving FAU the early 1-0 advantage. Nick Arata added to the lead, and gave the Owls their first hit of the afternoon, in the bottom of the third inning with a solo homerun making the score 2-0.

The starting pitcher for the Owls, Jeff Beliveau, kept the North Carolina hitters at bay for the first few innings. He issued six walks in four innings of work and at times pitched himself into trouble. He managed to keep UNC scoreless until the fourth inning when after battling with UNC’s Dustin Ackley, he made a close pitch that did not go FAU’s way. Ackley hit the next pitch over the centerfield wall, giving UNC a 3-2 lead.

“[Beliveau] threw exceptionally well,” said Owls pitching coach Tony Fossas. “That’s what happens when you make bad pitches to good hitters.”

The scoring started up again in the sixth inning with two RBI singles by Tom Hatcher and Riaan Spanjer-Furstenburg which gave the Owls a 4-3 lead. Then in the seventh, FAU scored three more runs thanks to a two RBI single by Mike McKenna and an error by UNC’s Ryan Graepel.

FAU relief pitcher Adam Morrison pitched well in his three innings of work, only giving up one run and striking out five, including the side in the sixth inning.

UNC scored one run in the seventh off of a Travis Ozga error, but the Owls held a 7-4 lead entering the ninth inning. Tim Federowicz led off the top of the ninth inning with a solo homerun and after a misjudged fly ball by Hatcher, UNC’s Mark Fleury had a pinch-hit RBI single to cut the deficit to one run. The next batter was Fedroff who gave UNC the lead and the eventual win.

The Owls still have nearly a full season ahead after this disappointment.

“This shows how good we are and how good we could be.” said Fossas of the Owls’ efforts against UNC. “We feel confident.”

FAU plays next at Bethune-Cookman on Tuesday in Daytona Beach, FL.