Baseball: Owls explode for 16 runs in season-opening victory

FAU has now won three straight season openers.


Junior catcher Kevin Abraham recorded two hits in the Owls victory over Monmouth on Friday night. Alexander Rodriguez | Contributing Photographer

Brendan Feeney, Managing Editor

Florida Atlantic baseball opened its 2017 campaign with a 16-5 victory over Monmouth University on Friday night in Boca Raton.

Monmouth (0-1) began clawing back from a 3-0 deficit with two runs off junior pitcher Alex House in the third inning, but the Owls (1-0) exploded for 13 runs over the course of the following four innings, stretching a 3-2 lead into a 16-2 advantage.

The returners to the Owls lineup accounted for much of their offensive firepower.

Sophomore shortstop Tyler Frank recorded a single to lead off FAU’s season and scored the first run of the game. He finished 3-for-6 with three runs scored.

Senior third baseman Austin Langham had three hits as well, one of which skied over the left field wall for his first career home run at FAU. Not to be outdone, in his first game batting third in the lineup, senior first baseman Esteban Puerta recorded three hits in four at bats, including a home run of his own, five RBIs and three runs scored.

“I felt great,” Puerta said. “I knew we had a special team and this just solidified what it could be.”

House, who was making his first career start on the mound for the Owls, took advantage of the his team’s hot bats.

After retiring the first six batters he faced, House ran into a little trouble in the third inning. Monmouth senior Ryan Bailey tagged the right-hander for a solo home run and then the Hawks were able score a second run and threaten a third with runners on the corners, but both runners were left stranded.

House allowed just the two runs and picked up the victory in six innings of work.

“He looked good, everything was sharp, everything was crisp, he didn’t try to do too much, so that’s all you can ask for,” Puerta said.

Friday night’s ballgame had more significance than a normal season opener. It was also the return of junior catcher Kevin Abraham, who sat out all last year with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

The FAU crowd greeted him with a warm welcome.

Abraham singled in a run in his first plate appearance and doubled in the Owls four-run fourth inning. In the sixth inning however, a fastball hit him in the cheek, and may have missed his helmet completely, according head coach John McCormack.

Abraham had a cut on his face and was taken to the hospital for X-rays.

“It makes my heart break,” McCormack said. “He was kind of back in his element, after he got the double he came in and winked at me like all is good. I don’t even know what to say, it’s mind-boggling that this could happen to him.”

FAU and Monmouth will be back at it for their second game of the series on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 4 p.m.

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