Baseball: Owls upset No. 1 ranked Hurricanes in Miami

Relief pitcher Alex House picked up his first collegiate victory.


char Pratt

Redshirt sophomore David McKay pitches versus the University of Miami Wednesday. Brendan Feeney | Sports Editor

Brendan Feeney, Sports Editor

After rain caused the No. 17 ranked Florida Atlantic and  No. 1 University of Miami baseball teams to have to wait three weeks later than anticipated to meet for the first time this year, the Owls took home a 4-3 victory.

“It’s really good for the committee later in the year that you show you can go on the road to the No. 1 team in the country and win,” head coach John McCormack said. “It was a top 25 matchup and it lived up to the billing.”

FAU (27-8) capitalized on Miami’s wild pitching in the eighth inning, scoring two runs to capture a 4-2 lead. Junior designated hitter Sean Labsan singled to center field to knock in senior center fielder Billy Endris, who led off the inning with a base on balls for the innings first run.

Junior shortstop CJ Chatham then scored via a groundout by junior third baseman Austin Langham after reaching base on a hit-by-pitch. Redshirt junior Esteban Puerta was also hit by a pitch in the inning, advancing both Endris and Chatham into scoring position.

Junior pitcher Colyn O’Connell entered the game in the eighth inning, inheriting two runners on base with no outs. He struck out the first two batters he faced and preserved the Owls lead, but allowed an RBI single to Miami senior shortstop Brandon Lopez. The run was charged to redshirt senior Devon Carr, who had walked two batters to start the inning.

“That was unbelievable to strike out possibly the player of the year [junior catcher Zack] Collins and [junior left fielder Jacob] Heyward,” McCormack said of O’Connell’s poise.

Junior closer Cameron Ragsdale threw a perfect ninth inning to pick up his 11th save of the season.

The Owls struck first in the game when senior left fielder Christian Dicks drove in Endris on a sacrifice fly in the first inning. The Hurricanes answered in the bottom half when senior center fielder Carl Chester walked, stole second base and scored on a single.

Kerr hit his fifth home run of the season to recapture the lead 2-1 in the third inning.

Miami (29-6) tied the score at two in the fourth inning without a ball being put into the field of play. Junior right fielder Willie Abreu drew a two-out walk, stole second base and then scored from second base on a wild pitch that Owls freshman catcher Tyler Frank was unable to locate.

Redshirt sophomore pitcher David McKay — who entered game 2-2 with an ERA of 3.00 and a team-high 36 strikeouts — received a no decision after allowing two runs on four hits in six innings of work while striking out five Hurricanes.

“Dave gave us a chance, kept us in the game,” McCormack said. “He pitched great.”

His counterpart, sophomore pitcher Jesse Lepore, was a mirror image of McKay. He allowed two runs on four hits during his six innings of work.

Sophomore pitcher Alex House was credited with the victory, the first of his collegiate career.

Labsan reached base in all four of his plate appearances with two singles and two walks.

The Owls will be back in Miami on Friday, April 22, to begin a three-game series at Florida International University.

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