Owls start conference play with weekend sweep of UNC-Charlotte

hortstop+CJ+Chatham+makes+contact+for+his+only+hit+of+the+second+game+in+the+series+to+add+to+FAU%E2%80%99s+13+hits.
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Owls start conference play with weekend sweep of UNC-Charlotte

hortstop CJ Chatham makes contact for his only hit of the second game in the series to add to FAU’s 13 hits.

hortstop CJ Chatham makes contact for his only hit of the second game in the series to add to FAU’s 13 hits.

Michelle Friswell

hortstop CJ Chatham makes contact for his only hit of the second game in the series to add to FAU’s 13 hits.

Michelle Friswell

Michelle Friswell

hortstop CJ Chatham makes contact for his only hit of the second game in the series to add to FAU’s 13 hits.

Brendan Feeney, Contributing Writer

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The No. 22 ranked Florida Atlantic Owls (according to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association) opened up conference play with a weekend series sweep against the University of North Carolina Charlotte 49ers (4-9, 0-6 in Conference USA).

FAU improved to 18-3 on the year and started their Conference USA season with a record of 3-0. The Owls join Rice, University of Texas at San Antonio and Middle Tennessee as the only undefeated teams left in conference play after this weekend.

Game 1:

FAU 8, UNC-Charlotte 3

Junior pitcher Kyle Miller got his fifth start of the season for the Owls in game one of Saturday’s doubleheader. He started the game only needing to face nine batters in the first three innings, and he struck out the first two UNCC hitters of the game.

Miller did not allow a run until the sixth inning. He ended the game giving up a total of three runs (two earned) with six strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings.

Sophomore CJ Chatham doubled to left field, driving in fellow sophomore Esteban Puerta and giving FAU the 1-0 lead. Puerta also doubled to left field two batters earlier to get on base.

With the bases loaded, two outs and a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth, freshman Ryan Miller broke open the game with a bases-clearing double to make the score 5-0. The Owls tacked on three more runs thanks to five singles in the seventh inning by juniors Brett Lashley , Brendon Sanger, Roman Collins, Christian Dicks and Puerta.

Puerta and Chatham each ended the day batting 2-for-3 with a double, one RBI and two runs scored. Left fielder Dicks hit 3-for-4 and scored one run. Kyle Miller was credited with the win to improve his record to 3-1. John Sebelle ended the game; neither FAU pitcher gave up a single walk all game. 49ers pitcher Sean Geoghegan was credited with the loss.

Game 2:

FAU 18, UNC-Charlotte 7

In game two of the doubleheader, the Owls scored 15 runs in the final three innings as the lineup batted around early. UNC started scoring in the bottom of the first inning with a home run that resulted in two runs from Zach Jarrett, off FAU’s junior starter Robbie Coursel.

Collins cut the lead in half with a solo home run to left field in the top of the second inning. Senior Ricky Santiago also added a solo home run in the fifth inning. It was Collins’ second home run of the season and Santiago’s third.

With a tied game entering the seventh inning, the first seven FAU batters reached bases, resulting in a six-run inning. The 49ers scored three in the bottom of the inning to cut the lead from six to three. The Owls answered back, scoring four runs in the eighth inning and five runs in the ninth thanks in part to sophomore Kevin Abraham’s first home run of the season. Santiago ended the game with three hits in five at-bats, including a home run, two walks, four runs and one RBI. Chatham and Abraham each added three RBIs for the Owls.

The Owls took advantage of 49ers pitcher J.D. Prochaska in the top of the third inning, scoring one run off of four walks and a wild pitch.

The team ended the game scoring four runs via wild pitches. UNCC answered in the bottom of the inning, scoring their third run of the game. The third inning was Coursel’s last of the game as he ended with three runs on four hits in just three innings of work.

Junior Seth McGarry came in strong in the fourth inning and threw 2 2/3 shutout innings with five strikeouts. Senior Reily Monkman (4-1) gave up three unearned runs in the seventh inning and was credited with the win.

Game 3:

FAU 5, UNC Charlotte 1

Senior pitcher Drew Jackson was given the ball on Sunday for the Owls, who were trying to complete the sweep of the 49ers. Jackson dominated the UNCC lineup, limiting them to two hits and one walk in five shutout innings. Jackson threw five strikeouts and was credited with the win to make his record 4-0.

His counterpart, Josh Maciejewski, got the loss after throwing eight strong innings with six strikeouts and three runs given up. Maciejewski is now 1-1. Senior Bo Logan threw the final 2 1/3 innings for the Owls, picking up his third save of the season along the way.

Ryan Miller singled with one out in the third inning and stole second base for his second steal of the season. After sophomore Stephen Kerr’s single moved Miller to third, Lashley drove him in with a sacrifice fly. The Owls added two two-out runs in the fifth after a Sanger double to left center scored Kerr and Lashley in the process, giving FAU a 3-0 lead.

UNCC scored their lone run in the bottom of the sixth when T.J. Nichting scored on junior Devon Carr’s wild pitch. Monkman was able to get the last out of the sixth and started the seventh until he gave the ball to Logan to finish the game.

The Owls added on two more runs in the top of the ninth after Chatham scored on a Ryan Miller single, who then scored from a Santiago sacrifice fly. FAU is now 12-2 this year in games when scoring first. FAU will travel to Bethune Cookman for their next game on Wednesday, March 18.