Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


Florida Atlantic University's first student-run news source.


FAU baseball season ends with first-ever conference title

FAU’s baseball team may have been embarrassingly eliminated from the NCAA regional playoffs, but it still achieved a record-setting year by claiming the Sun Belt Conference title for the first time in school history.

Despite losing 15-0 to UF at regionals in early June, the Owls finished their regular season 33-20 (23-9 in the Sun Belt Conference). Along with team success, catcher Eddie Cassidy and infielders Sean Bukovich and Raymond Church were named to the All-Regional team.

“This year our goal was to win the regular season and we did that,” said head coach John McCormack. “We were the best team from beginning to end.”

Outfielder Andy Mee and infielder Dan Scheffler were among the top statistical players of the year for the Owls. Mee led the team with a .378 batting average, while Scheffler led the team with 65 runs batted in (RBIs) and 15 home runs. Alongside being a leader on the plate, Mee was also served on the mound as a closer, ending the year with 11 saves.

Despite the impressive numbers by Mee and Scheffler, McCormack feels the team MVP award might belong to someone else.

“The guy that I thought had a heck of year and really solidified some stuff for us was Mike Albaladejo,” said McCormack. “I think that he is well deserving of a team MVP.”

Catcher and team captain, Albaladejo finished his season with a .251 batting average, 17 RBIs and two home runs. Although his numbers are lower than those of Mee and Scheffler, his leadership on and off the field was a constant source of encouragement.

On the mound, right-hand pitchers Mike Gipson and Ryan Bernal were standout performers. Gipson, a starter, and Bernal, a relief pitcher, were drafted into Major League Baseball.

Aside from the two drafted players, the Owls will only lose four other seniors: outfielder Anthony Mesa and pitchers Kenny Gray, Barry Rooks and Lou Morey, who ended his season with a 2.95 earned run average (ERA) and 15 strikeouts.

Despite boasting a talented side, FAU found itself on the wrong end of a 15-0 decision against the University of Florida in the championship game of the Gainesville Regional. The loss eliminated the Owls from the tournament.

While FAU would have liked a closer game and a longer postseason, the team finished with 37 overall victories (their highest amount since 2005), making this season a successful one.

“I think that we lived up to our expectations,” said McCormack. “I think we’re in good shape for next year and 2012, too.”

Going pro

Right-handed pitcher Mike Gipson used 2010 to show why he was FAU’s top player at that position. Gipson ended the season going 8-2 with a 3.70 earned run average (ERA) and an impressive 112 strikeouts.

Gipson and right-handed pitcher Ryan Bernal will now set their sights on trying to make it in the pros after being selected in this year’s Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. Gipson was selected in the 31st round by the New York Yankees, the reigning MLB champions.

“Gipson led the team in wins, but a hard guy to replace will be Bernal,” said pitching coach Jason Jackson. “He worked really hard and was good at setting up for [outfielder Andy] Mee to close the game.”

Bernal was selected by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 23rd round. He achieved a breakout season, going 6-3 with a 3.00 ERA, and led the Owls with 30 appearances out of the bullpen.

“I’m happy for them,” said head coach John McCormack. “They worked their behinds off.” 

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