Bearcats down Owls in season opener

FAU opened its season against the Cincinnati Bearcats on Friday, Feb. 19, at FAU Stadium in Boca, and despite a late rally effort, the Owls were defeated 5-3.

Heading into the game, the Owls had won all six previous meetings against the Bearcats, but lackadaisical batting played a major role in seeing FAU drop its first decision to Cincinnati.

On the mound for the Owls was junior pitcher Taylor Everist. Coming from Tallahassee Community College, he made his first Division I start with FAU. Everist pitched six innings, issued no walks and struck out five batters. Everist made one lone blunder, surrendering a solo home run to first baseman Kevin Johnson in the top of the second inning.

Despite being credited with the loss, Everist felt he pitched a good first game.

“I felt great,” said Everist. “After the home run, I shut the next guy out. I didn’t think about the home run the rest of the game.”

Everist was relieved by right-handed pitcher Ryan Garton, who struck four batters out in three innings of play.

The Owls were able to tie the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the fourth, though, as junior right fielder Andy Mee ran home on junior second baseman Raymond Church’s RBI double.

The Bearcats would respond with two more runs in the top of the fifth, and the lead would increase to 5-1 entering the bottom of the ninth.

FAU made an attempt at a comeback in the final inning, but only mustered two runs. Junior left fielder Colby Gratton hit a single to load the bases, and junior first baseman Dan Scheffler came out to capitalize on the opportunity with a two-run single that brought the score to 5-3.

Later in the inning, Mee was walked, which loaded the bases once again for FAU. With a chance to level the score, shortstop Nick DelGuidice hit an infield fly ball to end the game.

“We had some good opportunities throughout the game,” said FAU head coach John McCormack “We just couldn’t put the big hit together until Scheffler in the ninth.”

The Owls host Cincinnati again on Saturday, Feb. 20.