Baseball: Owls lose final two games against Southern Miss after starting series off with walk-off victory

The Owls lost two games at home after starting out the year 13-0 in Boca Raton


Tyler Frank. Alex Rodriguez | News Editor

Matt Brown, Contributing Writer

After winning the first matchup on a walk-off, Florida Atlantic baseball loses two straight games at home, their first losses at home all season.

Here’s a recap of each game:

Game One: FAU 6, Southern Miss 5

The Owls started off the series against the no.14 ranked Golden Eagles with an exciting walk-off victory.

With the game tied at five, sophomore center fielder Cody Wilson started off the bottom of the ninth with a triple. Southern Miss then intentionally walked two FAU batters to load the bases in an attempt to get the force out at home.

They never got the chance though as Wilson scored on a wild pitch to give the Owls the 6-5 victory, their ninth in the past ten games.

It was their second straight come from behind victory after trailing 9-2 their last game against Miami before scoring nine unanswered, including six in the top of the ninth, for the 11-9 victory.

“They are all the same.” said FAU Head Baseball Coach John McCormack on which win felt the sweetest. “…At this point you are just trying to rack up wins.”

Junior shortstop Tyler Frank got the Owls on the board first with a solo shot to left in the top of the first.

Three straight homers by the Golden Eagles in the top half of the fourth, fifth and sixth inning got them to extend the lead to 4-1 in the top of the sixth.

The Owls answered in the bottom half of that inning back scoring junior first baseman Gunnar Lambert on a sac fly from freshman designated hitter Andru Summerall.

Frank’s second homer of the game, this time a three-run shot, gave the Owls a 5-4 lead. Golden Eagles third baseman Luke Reynolds hit his second homer of the game to right field to tie the score up at five all in the top of the eighth.

That set up Wilson and the Owls for the heroics in the ninth for the second straight game.

Senior pitcher Jake Miednik got the start on the mound despite suffering from a foot injury. Miednik’s father confirmed to the University Press that he was was suffering from turf toe and had three novacaine shots earlier in the week.  

He allowed five hits and four runs in his six innings of work. He struck out six of the 26 batters he faced.

“I thought he battled.” said McCormack. “…He has got to get the ball down. I think he is trying to throw to hard.”

Frank was 2-for-4 with two home runs and four RBIs. It was his second two home run game in the last 10 days. He extended his hitting streak to 17 straight games.

Wilson was 2-for-4 scoring two runs, including the game winner.

Junior pitcher Zach Schneider got his second win of the season, allowing no runs and one hit in his one inning of work.

Game Two: Southern Miss 5, FAU 2

Down to the final inning for the third straight game the Owls couldn’t pull it off this time, falling 5-2 for their first loss at home this season.

With two on and two outs, sophomore catcher Pedro Pages sent a shot to deep left field caught right at the wall for the final out of the game.

The Golden Eagles scored four unanswered runs to start the game off, including a two-run home run by relief pitcher Matt Wallner in the top of the third.

The Owls answered back in the bottom half of the third with a single though the left side from junior third baseman Joe Montes scoring Frank.

They pulled within two in the bottom half of the fifth after a single scored junior left fielder Diamond Johnson.

Southern Miss added an insurance run in the top of the eighth, a homer from first baseman Hunter Slater to make it 5-2.

Johnson started off the final inning for the Owls with a single. Montes then singled advancing Johnson to third.

That brought up the game-tying run Wilson to the plate. With two outs he sent the first pitch he saw to the warning track, but Southern Miss was able to track it down to end the game.

“I thought it was a good game.” said McCormack. “We had some good individual performances. Guys came out of the pen (and) did a nice job…We just got to be a little better, especially early.”

Normal Saturday starter junior pitcher Kyle Marman did not take the mound.

‘He’s experienced some issues with his forearm,” said McCormack. “We got it checked out so we’re just kind of a precautionary thing…we’ll see what happens with Kyle going forward”

Instead, senior Mark Nowatnick got the start where he allowed four hits and four runs (two earned) in six innings. He also struck out four.

Johnson was 2-for-4 a run scored.

Frank got his eighteenth straight game with a hit going 1-for-5. He also scored a run.

Game Three: Southern Miss 14, FAU 3

An offensive onslaught early allowed the Golden Eagles to coast to an easy 14-3 victory over the Owls. The 14 runs scored was the most runs the Owls have allowed all season and most since also allowing 14 against Illinois last season on March 4, 2017.

It was the Owls second straight loss at home after starting the year off 13-0 there.

With one out in the top of the third, two straight doubles by Southern Miss allowed them to score the first run of the game. They extended that lead later in the inning to five after a grand slam from center fielder Wallner.

It was the Golden Eagles first grand slam all season.

They added a run to their lead the next inning before the Owls could finally get on the board in the bottom of the fourth.

Sophomore second baseman Eric Rivera sac fly scored Miranda, making it 6-1 after four innings.

Southern Miss continued to put more runs on the board in the fifth inning, scoring three on four hits to pull ahead 9-1, their largest lead all series.

They scored two more runs in the eighth to go ahead by 10 runs before the Owls scored two runs in the bottom half of the frame. Three more runs came across the board for the Golden Eagles in the final inning to extend the lead to 11 in an eventual 14-3 win.

“They were good. man,” said McCormack.They were locked in and ready to go. It all starts on the mound and I don’t think we did a good job.”

Owls starting pitcher junior Vince Coletti allowed six runs and seven hits in 3.2 innings of work.

Of the five relief pitchers three allowed at least two hits and two runs.

It was the largest margin of defeat all season and most since falling 13-2 last season against Rice on May 27 in the C-USA Tournament.

Southern Miss starting pitcher Walker Powell struck out a career high seven Owls in 7.1 innings. “Their pitcher did a really nice job.” said McCormack. “(He) threw that cutter on the top of the zone and our guys could not adjust to it…kudos to them. They threw well.”

Miranda and Pages both went 3-for-4 with one RBI apiece. Miranda also scored a run.

Frank was 1-for-4 with a run scored, extending his hitting streak to 19 straight games. That is the longest streak since 2015 when C.J. Chatham and Brendon Sanger both hit safety for 19 straight games.

The Owls (17-7) travel to Bethune Cookman for one weekday game on Tuesday March. 27 at 4:00 p.m.

Matt Brown is a contributing writer with the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @mattyb407.