Baseball: Owls split season series with 5-2 victory over FGCU

Esteban Puerta drives in two of FAU’s five runs.

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Baseball: Owls split season series with 5-2 victory over FGCU

Freshman pitcher Nick Swan pitched four innings during his start against FGCU Tuesday night. Ryan Lynch | Multimedia Editor

Freshman pitcher Nick Swan pitched four innings during his start against FGCU Tuesday night. Ryan Lynch | Multimedia Editor

Freshman pitcher Nick Swan pitched four innings during his start against FGCU Tuesday night. Ryan Lynch | Multimedia Editor

Freshman pitcher Nick Swan pitched four innings during his start against FGCU Tuesday night. Ryan Lynch | Multimedia Editor

Ryan Lynch, Multimedia Editor

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After losing its initial meeting of the year to Florida Gulf Coast University on April 12 in a 3-2,11-inning game, Florida Atlantic baseball had a chance to draw even in its season series against the Eagles on Tuesday night.

The No. 17 ranked Owls (26-8) took advantage of that opportunity, beating FGCU 5-2 and claiming their first win since a 7-2 loss to Marshall on Sunday.

“It was good,” head coach John McCormack said of the win to start the week. “We had talked about it on Sunday about how important this week was and it was good to get off to a good start.”

Freshman Nick Swan started out the game on the mound for the Owls, overcoming a tough start at the beginning of the game to help guide the Owls through his first collegiate win.

After giving up a leadoff triple to sophomore shortstop Matt Reardon, who scored on a sacrifice fly by redshirt junior second baseman Jake Noll, Swan did not give up another run for the rest of his outing.

“Early in the year we had stretched him out and he had thrown 40 pitches, 50 pitches,” McCormack said of the pitcher’s shorter outing. “But since then because of the way things have fallen, he’s been a one inning guy, two-thirds of an inning.”

In four innings of work, Swan gave up one run on six hits while striking out two. Senior Robbie Coursel had a key performance in his three innings of work in relief of Swan. “It’s always good when you can come into a tight ball game and throw up a few zeros,” Coursel said.

Coursel allowed one run to the Eagles on an RBI double play off the bat of senior pinch hitter Brady Anderson in the top of the seventh.

FAU’s batters would respond in the bottom half of the first, pushing two runs across the plate on a bases-loaded walk to redshirt junior first baseman Esteban Puerta and a sacrifice fly by junior designated hitter Sean Labsan.

Senior shortstop C.J. Chatham led all hitters with a 3-for-3 performance, driving in one RBI on the night. Freshman catcher Tyler Frank had an RBI on a pinch hit single in the bottom of the seventh.

Freshman pitcher Philip Sieli received the loss for the Eagles (19-17) after walking five batters and giving up two runs in two and a third innings of work. Junior reliever Cameron Ragsdale got the save for the Owls, his 10th of the season.

The Owls next play the University of Miami on Wednesday, April 20, at 6 p.m. The game will serve as the first meeting of the year between the two teams after their first scheduled game on March 20 was postponed due to rain.

“Whatever happens tomorrow night, you still have to play on Friday,” McCormack said. “I tried to explain to our guys, if we win tomorrow night it’s not like the NCAA committee is going to call us and say you’re in the tournament, or Conference USA is gonna say ‘hey, you guys don’t have to play anymore, you’re good.’”

Ryan Lynch is the multimedia editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @RyanLynchwriter