Baseball: Winning weekend follows forgettable Friday

Owls win 2-of-3 over Georgetown Hoyas


Nick Swan congratulates a teammate crossing home plate in a game earlier this season. Photo by Max Jackson

Brendan Feeney, Sports Editor

Florida Atlantic baseball scored eight runs in the bottom of the ninth inning in Friday’s loss to Georgetown, but took Saturday and Sunday’s games over the Hoyas by a score of 6-0 and 14-2 respectively.

Trailing 13-3 in the ninth inning in Friday night’s game, the Owls (9-1) didn’t go away without a fight.

Junior second baseman Stephen Kerr started the comeback bid with a three-run home run.

Eventually, FAU put the potential tying run on second base with just one out. However, Kerr and senior centerfielder Billy Endris struck out as the Owls came up one hit short, 13-11.

The Hoyas’ four second innings runs, one run in the third and fourth inning, and their six fifth inning runs all came with two outs.

“We weren’t able to get out of an inning,” head coach John McCormack said. “But credit to them, they just kept battling and battling and kept putting runs on the board with two outs. It’s disheartening though, it really takes the life out of you.”

Senior pitcher Brandon Rhodes prevented two-out runs on Saturday. He didn’t allow a single Georgetown runner to cross the plate in a complete game shutout.

“That’s exactly what we needed,” McCormack said. “You need a guy to be able to stop from what went on [Friday] night.”

Sophomore Marc Stewart continued his early pitching success — he entered Sunday’s start with 12 straight scoreless innings to begin this season — earning his third win of the season in six innings of work. He allowed one run and struck out five batters.

Senior left fielder Christian Dicks appears to have found a rhythm in the batter’s box. One week after going 1-for-12, Dicks reached base ten times in 15 plate appearances, including eight hits, two walks, four runs and three RBIs.

“[Dicks] seemed to swing the bat bettter, seemed more comfortable in the box,” McCormack said.

Hitter of the weekend: Junior shortstop CJ Chatham – Chatham hit 8-for-14 — scoring six runs — along with four RBIs and a home run.

Pitcher of the weekend: Senior Brandon Rhodes – One day after the Hoyas struck for 13 runs off 14 hits, Rhodes limited their bats and threw a complete game, two-hit shutout.

“Goat” of the weekend: Sophomore pitcher Dave McKay – McKay struggled in Friday’s outing, allowing five earned runs while only recording five outs.

“David [McKay] was not [the same guy we saw last week],” McCormack said. “Seemed to be from the first pitch he threw in the dirt and just didn’t seem comfortable out there all night … [he] just didn’t have it.”

The Owls will have one day off before hosting St. Joseph’s on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. and Wednesday at 1 p.m.

Here’s a recap of each game:

Game One: Georgetown 13, FAU 11

Georgetown jumped on McKay and freshman Nick Swan early, scoring 11 runs before the fifth inning was over.

Self-inflicted mistakes were the themes of Friday’s game. Kerr, Chatham and redshirt junior first baseman Esteban Puerta all committed an error in the game’s first five innings and FAU pitchers threw six wild pitches.

Puerta’s error occurred in the Hoyas’ six-run fifth inning, after the Owls scored three in their half of the fourth inning, to pull within three runs.

“It was the six-run fifth that killed us,” McCormack said. “We scored three, we get two quick outs, infield hit, single, walk, error, single, change pitchers, three-run homer.”

The three-run home run by Hoyas’ junior designated hitter Jake Kuzbel that McCormack referred to capped off the six-run inning in which Georgetown extended its lead from three to nine, 12-3.

After the Hoyas added their 13th run in the top of the ninth inning, the Owls began to claw their way back. Sophomore catcher Gunnar Lambert and junior third baseman Austin Langham reached base to start the inning and immediately scored on Kerr’s three-run home run, 13-6.

Endris then flied out for the Owls’ first out.

Chatham, Dicks and Puerta all hit their way on before back-to-back-to-back walks to junior designated hitter Sean Labsan, senior right fielder Brett Lashley and Lambert made the score 13-9.

Langham followed the trio of walks with a single to left field, and a wild pitch later he found himself on second base as the tying run with one out.

Junior pitcher David Ellingson struck out both Kerr and Endris, causing the Owls to come up one single away from a 10-run, game-tying ninth inning.

“I didn’t think we had a good [batting practice],” McCormack said. “Spring break’s starting, 7-0, maybe reading the press clippings too much, but these things happen. It’s one game, one game out of 56, time to turn the page and move on.”

Game Two: Georgetown 0, FAU 6

The second game of the series took only 1 hour and 50 minutes of game time — 1 hour and 36 minutes quicker than Friday’s game — thanks to Rhodes.

Rhodes limited the Hoyas to just two hits in a complete game shutout, his first of the season. His defense had his back, committing no errors and making several diving catches — two of which, by Langham and Dicks, were turned into double plays.

“Today the difference was the defense,” McCormack said. “We had four double plays I think. Certainly helps you out that two of them were [when their] leadoff guys were on, so that really helps. We were ready to play, guys did a good job.”

Endris knocked in the game’s first two runs and scored in the third inning. He finished the game 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBIs.

Chatham hit his first home run of the season in the eighth inning, stretching FAU’s lead to six.

Game Three: Georgetown 2, FAU 14

FAU pounced on the Hoyas early on Sunday, scoring five runs in the game’s first two innings of play. After Puerta knocked in freshman second baseman Tyler Frank, Labsan tripled down the right-field line, scoring both Dicks and Chatham.

The Owls went on to add one run in the fifth, four in the sixth, two in the seventh and one more in the eighth inning.

Chatham recorded four hits in five at-bats and scored three runs. Dicks was 3-for-5, scoring twice and knocking in one run.

Frank, Puerta and Lambert all collected two hits and at least one RBI and one run scored. Stewart limited the Hoyas to one run in six innings.

Brendan Feeney is the sports editor of the University Press. To contact him regarding this or other stories, he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.