Baseball: FAU misses out on NCAA Tournament, season over

Rolando Rosa

FAU head coach John McCormack now has two regular season Sun Belt titles since taking over for Kevin Cooney four years ago. McCormack led FAU to an at-large berth in the NCAA tournament in 2010. Photo by Michelle Friswell.

Winning the regular season Sun Belt title was not enough for FAU to return to the NCAA Tournament.

FAU’s 14th straight winning season didn’t earn the team a bid to the NCAAs. And by virtue of going 1-2 in pool games during the Sun Belt Tournament, the Owls did not make the championship game either, eliminating a chance to receive the automatic bid given to the winner. FAU had a 32-22 overall record, however it was winless (0-6) against ranked opponents and had an RPI (ratings percentage index) of 79.

Five teams the Owls played this season made the NCAA Tournament: Florida, Miami, UCF, Manhattan, and Sun Belt tournament winner Louisiana-Monroe. FAU had a 5-9 record against those teams.

A season which began with a three-game road sweep of Alabama ended with back to back extra inning losses (9-7 to Louisiana-Monroe in 13, 5-4 to South Alabama in 10), but their coach does not consider it a failure.

“It is little solace right now, but the guys played their asses off and has two losses in extra innings and both times were the visiting team,” head coach John McCormack said to OwlAccess.com. “To lose that 13-inning game was a punch in the gut, but I’m proud of the way they came back the next night.”

McCormack did not coach the finale because of an ejection early in the Louisiana-Monroe loss. Sun Belt rules stipulate when a coach is ejected from a game, he cannot coach in the following game. Still, he would not blame himself or his team’s injuries as an excuse for not winning the tournament.

“There are a lot of teams around that are going to miss the tournament, and are sitting around saying, We had injuries and we’ll get them next year,” McCormack said. “But the difference is we got a ring and that’s something special.”

Owls senior second baseman Mike Albaladejo concluded his college career by being named to the Sun Belt Conference’s All-Tournament Team. For the tournament, Albaladejo hit .429 and had multiple hits in two of the three games. The first-team All-Sun Belt Conference selection from the regular season hit a double in the tournament opener in the ninth inning, tying the game and guiding the Owls to their only win.

This season he switched from catcher to second baseman, playing all 54 games and leading the team in hits (76). Albaladejo finished his career with a .305 average, leading FAU to regular season titles in 2010 and 2012.

Seniors Albaladejo, outfielder Alex Hudak, and pitchers Ryan Garton, Ahmed Garcia, and Mike Tomasi have concluded their careers at FAU.