Baseball: Owls eliminated from NCAA Regional

Two losses to Long Beach State lead to exit from tournament in Coral Gables.

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Baseball: Owls eliminated from NCAA Regional

The Owls fall to 0-2 against the Hurricanes this season after their loss on Wednesday. Photo by Max Jackson

The Owls fall to 0-2 against the Hurricanes this season after their loss on Wednesday. Photo by Max Jackson

Max Jackson

The Owls fall to 0-2 against the Hurricanes this season after their loss on Wednesday. Photo by Max Jackson

Max Jackson

Max Jackson

The Owls fall to 0-2 against the Hurricanes this season after their loss on Wednesday. Photo by Max Jackson

Ryan Lynch, Multimedia Editor

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rawing a No. 2 seed in the University of Miami hosted NCAA Regional tournament, head coach John McCormack and Florida Atlantic baseball had their eyes on a potential rematch with the Hurricanes during the tournament.

Those wishes at another chance to face the host fell flat Sunday, as the Owls were eliminated after losing twice in the tournament to the Long Beach State Dirtbags.

A combination of falling behind early and offensive woes led to FAU’s struggles during the tournament. Owls pitchers combined to give up 14 runs over three games while receiving 10 in offensive support.

With their win versus the Owls, the Dirtbags face Miami at 7 p.m. Sunday, where they’ll try and force an elimination game against the Hurricanes.

Game One: Long Beach State 5 , FAU 1

The Owls were unable to get any offensive momentum going early in their first game versus Long Beach State Friday, as Dirtbags pitcher Chris Mathewson rode a strong performance to his eighth win of the season.

The sophomore, who held onto a bid at a no-hitter into the seventh inning, did not allow a baserunner until the third inning and did not give up a hit until a solo home run by FAU redshirt junior first baseman Esteban Puerta in the seventh inning. The only other Owls hit came on a single by senior left fielder Christian Dicks in the eighth inning.

Mathewson’s performance allowed plenty of room for the Dirtbags offense, as they would take the lead in the second inning and never surrender it.

Redshirt sophomore pitcher David McKay was unable to stop Long Beach State’s offense, earning his sixth loss of the year. He gave up three runs — two earned — and six of the 10 Dirtbag hits during five innings of work.

Game Two: FAU 8, Stetson 4

Facing elimination for the first time in the tournament, FAU was able to score six runs in the final three innings for an 8-4 come-from-behind victory to eliminate the Stetson Hatters from the NCAA Regional Saturday.

After RBI singles by junior second baseman Stephen Kerr and senior centerfielder Billy Endris gave the Owls a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth, sophomore pitcher Marc Stewart gave up three runs in the bottom half of the inning to fall behind 3-2.

Freshman pitcher Nick Swan would give up another run in the following inning before FAU began its comeback. In the top of the seventh, senior shortstop C.J. Chatham hit a sacrifice fly to bring the Owls within one run of the Hatters.

Following that run, FAU plated three runs in the eighth, two of which came on a double by senior rightfielder Brett Lashley. The Owls would score two more in the ninth inning on a home run from freshman shortstop Tyler Frank, the first of his career.

Senior Devin Carr and sophomore Cameron Ragsdale pitched the final four innings for the Owls, with each giving up a single hit. Carr earned his fifth win of the season through three innings of shutout work.

Game Three: Long Beach State 5 , FAU 1

In a scoreline that exactly matched their first game, the Owls lost to Long Beach State and were eliminated from the Coral Gables Regional Sunday.

Senior Brandon Rhodes pitched an eight-inning, complete-game performance in his final game with FAU. Rhodes gave up three runs in the first inning and two in the third, allowing the Dirtbags to gain a lead that proved to be insurmountable for the Owls.

Long Beach State once again saw its starting pitcher perform well under duress, as senior Tanner Brown pitched eight innings of his own in the winning effort. Brown struck out seven and gave up only four hits and one run, which came after sophomore catcher Gunnar Lambert scored on a wild pitch in the third inning.

The Owls are now 0-2 all-time against the Dirtbags.

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