Baseball: Owls avoid being swept at FIU

Labsan hits a home run on Saturday before earning a win on the mound on Sunday.

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Junior shortstop CJ Chatham takes a swing during the Owls' game versus the No. 1 ranked Miami Hurricanes last Wednesday. Brendan Feeney | Sports Editor

Brendan Feeney, Sports Editor

Florida Atlantic baseball avoided being swept at Florida International University with a win in the series’ final game on Sunday.

The series loss completes a week which started with optimism after wins over Florida Gulf Coast University and at the nation’s top ranked University of Miami.

FAU (28-10, 12-6 C-USA) jumped out to an early lead over FIU (19-22, 7-11 C-USA), scoring six runs in the game’s first two innings. With sophomore Marc Stewart on the mound — who the Owls were 9-0 in his nine prior starts — success appeared to be on the Owls’ side. However, a two-hour rain delay caused head coach John McCormack to pull his pitcher.

The Golden Panthers scored five runs in the final five innings to seal the comeback victory. Their momentum carried into Saturday, scoring three runs in the first three innings en route to a second straight win.

Junior designated hitter and starting pitcher Sean Labsan, who homered in Saturday’s game, contained FIU’s bats from the pitching mound on Sunday, helping his team avoid the sweep.

Hitter of the Weekend: Sean Labsan: Labsan didn’t receive an at-bat in Sunday’s game but still hit 4-for-8 with two RBIs and one run over the series, including the home run.

Pitcher of the Weekend: Sean Labsan: The only pitcher to throw more than one inning and not allow a run over the weekend was Labsan. He threw five scoreless innings on Sunday to pick up his fifth win of the year.

“Goat” of the Weekend: Tyler Frank: The freshman catcher recorded two hits in 10 at-bats, while striking out four times.

The Owls host the University of Central Florida on Tuesday, April 26, at 6:30 p.m.

Here’s a recap of each game:

Game One: FAU 6, FIU 7

Senior center fielder Billy Endris scored the first run of the game for FAU, crossing home plate on a double off the bat of junior shortstop CJ Chatham. Chatham would also score in the inning via a single by senior left fielder Christian Dicks.

Following an RBI bunt by junior second baseman Stephen Kerr in the second inning, Endris doubled to right-center field to stretch FAU’s lead to five. Chatham picked up his second RBI in as many innings by following Endris’ double with a single.

FIU plated two runs off Stewart in its next two at bats, the second being unearned after an error by freshman catcher Tyler Frank.

The rain delay halted the Owls offense but excited the FIU bats. While FAU was held scoreless for the game’s final six innings, the Golden Panthers scored in four of their next five at bats.

Endris finished the game 2-for-3 with two runs, two RBIs and a walk.

Chatham, junior third baseman Austin Langham and Labsan all collected two hits apiece.

Game Two: FAU 3, FIU 4

Just like Friday’s opener, Endris scored the first run of the game in the top of the first inning. However this time FIU limited the damage and answered early, scoring three runs in the first three innings off senior pitcher Brandon Rhodes. One run was unearned.

Rhodes threw six and one third innings, allowing three runs — two earned.

His offense responded in the fourth inning with a Labsan two-run home run to tie the game at three.

Senior pitcher Robbie Coursel allowed the game-winning run to cross the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Game Three: FAU 9, FIU 1

Continuing the trend of scoring first, FAU jumped out to an early lead on Sunday, scoring one run in each of the first three innings. Kerr scored the first and knocked in the second with a single.

Highlighted by a two-RBI single by Dicks and a Langham RBI single, the Owls struck for five runs in the sixth inning to take an 8-0 lead for the starting pitcher Labsan.

Labsan struck out five batters in five innings of work, picking up his fifth win of the season.

Junior first baseman Esteban Puerta added the ninth and final run for the Owls in the eighth inning with his sixth home run of the season.

Brendan Feeney is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @feeney42.