Baseball: Owls swept by Rice in Final Home Series

Series is first time the Owls were swept this season.

Senior+players+pose+with+Coach+McCormack+before+Saturday+game+vs+Rice.+%28from+l.+to+r.+Danny+Murray%2C+Ricky+Santiago%2C+head+coach+John+McCormack%2C+Bo+Logan%2C+John+Sebelle%2C+Reily+Monkman+and+Drew+Jackson%29.+Photo+by+Michelle+Friswell
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Baseball: Owls swept by Rice in Final Home Series

Senior players pose with Coach McCormack before Saturday game vs Rice. (from l. to r. Danny Murray, Ricky Santiago, head coach John McCormack, Bo Logan, John Sebelle, Reily Monkman and Drew Jackson). Photo by Michelle Friswell

Senior players pose with Coach McCormack before Saturday game vs Rice. (from l. to r. Danny Murray, Ricky Santiago, head coach John McCormack, Bo Logan, John Sebelle, Reily Monkman and Drew Jackson). Photo by Michelle Friswell

Michelle Friswell

Senior players pose with Coach McCormack before Saturday game vs Rice. (from l. to r. Danny Murray, Ricky Santiago, head coach John McCormack, Bo Logan, John Sebelle, Reily Monkman and Drew Jackson). Photo by Michelle Friswell

Michelle Friswell

Michelle Friswell

Senior players pose with Coach McCormack before Saturday game vs Rice. (from l. to r. Danny Murray, Ricky Santiago, head coach John McCormack, Bo Logan, John Sebelle, Reily Monkman and Drew Jackson). Photo by Michelle Friswell

Ryan Lynch, Staff Writer

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For the first time all season, the No. 12 ranked Florida Atlantic Owls (36-14, 17-10 C-USA) were swept, playing in their final home series of the year versus the No 17. Rice Owls. FAU dropped all three games to the Owls in a series with major implications heading into the conference tournament.

The last time the Owls were swept was last season, they were also facing Rice in a three-game series. FAU has now only lost consecutive games three times this season. Rice (33-16, 20-7 C-USA) now holds the lead in the Conference USA standings by three games.

The Owls left 25 runners on base during the weekend, a sign of Rice’s pitching dominance through the series.

With four games remaining before the conference tournament (one at Miami, three at Western Kentucky), there is a visible need for the Owls to have a strong end to the season if they are to to be in a higher seed in the conference tournament.

 

Game One:

Pitcher Kyle Miller delivers a pitch during the Friday game against Rice. Miller received the loss in the 6-0 defeat. Photo by Michelle Friswell

Pitcher Kyle Miller delivers a pitch during the Friday game against Rice. Miller received the loss in the 6-0 defeat. Photo by Michelle Friswell

Rice 6, FAU 0

Junior Kyle Miller was called on to start the opening game of the series, and started off by keeping Rice off the board for three innings. Miller proceeded to give up three runs in his next three innings of work, two of which came on a two out single in the fourth.

Miller finished the game with six innings of work, giving up three runs on 10 hits while striking out three and walking two.

For only the second time this season, FAU’s offense was shut out by an opponent. The Owls registered five hits, but were struck out a season high 12 times. Junior Christian Dicks led the team with three strikeouts in an uncharacteristically slow game for him.

Junior left fielder Billy Endris was the lone Owl with more than a single hit, going 2-for-4 with his first two hits of the season.

Senior Bo Logan and freshman Blake Sanderson combined to pitch the final three innings for the Owls, giving up three runs combined (Logan gave up two, Sanderson gave up one).

Miller was charged with the loss, his sixth of the season. Junior Jordan Stephens earned the win for Rice, his third of the year. Stephen was a major reason why FAU was kept off the board, pitching six and two thirds of scoreless baseball with eight strikeouts.

Game Two:

First baseman Esteban Puerta jumps while attempting to catch a throw during the third game of the series. FAU lost the game 5-2. Photo by Michelle Friswell

First baseman Esteban Puerta jumps while attempting to catch a throw during the third game of the series. FAU lost the game 5-2. Photo by Michelle Friswell

Rice 5, FAU 1

Senior Drew Jackson returned to the mound for the first time since April 11th, hoping to stay true to his 1.64 ERA through his eight starts. Jackson had been out with triceps soreness in his pitching arm, missing almost a month.

The day was also special for Jackson because it was Senior day for him. Seniors Bo Logan, Ricky Santiago, John Sebelle, Danny Murray, Reily Monkman and Jackson all received recognition before the game.

Jackson had a tough first inning to start, surrendering three runs on five hits and an error. FAU had four errors during the game, the most they have had in a game all season. Jackson pitched only two innings, giving up three runs on seven hits, striking out one and walked none during his start.

Junior pitcher Kevin McCanna stranded five Owls’ baserunners in the first three innings of the game, continuing FAU’s struggle to score runs.

FAU saw Billy Endris and junior rightfielder Brendon Sanger reach base in the seventh as well as junior designated hitter Christian Dicks and sophomore shortstop CJ Chatham in the eighth, but were once again unable to score a runner.

Chatham scored the Owls’ only run of the game in the ninth inning, scoring on a single from sophomore second baseman Stephen Kerr. That would be all the Owls would get, as Rice reliever Austin Orewiler shut the Owls down once again.

Jackson was charged with his second loss of the season, and McCanna received the win, his sixth. Austin Orewiler received the save after three and two-thirds innings of work, his third of the year

Game Three:

On Mother's Day, the Moms of several FAU players threw out the first pitch. Photo by Michelle Friswell

On Mother’s Day, the Mothers of several FAU players threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Photo by Michelle Friswell

Rice 5, FAU 2

Sunday was the final regular season home game for the Owls, which was also Mother’s Day. The Moms of multiple FAU players delivered the first pitch to their sons before the game began.

Junior Brandon Rhodes made the start for the Owls, pitching four scoreless innings before surrendering five runs in the top of the fifth, including a three-run home run by designated hitter John Clay Reeves. Rhodes lasted five innings, giving up five runs and seven hits.

FAU held their first lead of the game in the fourth, with Christian Dicks receiving an RBI on a fielder’s choice. The Owls only other run of the game came in the fifth, on a fielding error at first base.

Junior Blake Fox received the win for Rice, pitching six and a third innings while only surrendering two runs. It was his seventh of the season. Junior Matt Ditman received the save for the Owls, pitching the final two and two thirds innings without surrendering a run. Rhodes received the loss, his first of the season.