FAU Baseball: Owls defeat in-state rival FGCU, 6-4

Outfielder Mitchell Hartigan comes into the game in the ninth inning and records a save.

Pitcher+Marc+DeGusipe+made+his+first+collegiate+start+and+pitched+2.1+innings%2C+striking+out+three+batters%2C+but+did+have+three+earned+runs.+Photo+by%3A+Alex+Liscio.

Pitcher Marc DeGusipe made his first collegiate start and pitched 2.1 innings, striking out three batters, but did have three earned runs. Photo by: Alex Liscio.

Zachary Weinberger, Sports Editor

FAU wins their fourth game in a row Tuesday night coming close behind the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles, 6-4. 

“I thought the guys played really well, offensively, it was a really, really good night,” head coach John McCormack said. “A lot of good stuff. Good to win at home against a really quality opponent despite their record, they’re a good team with great coaches.”

Besides the two teams being in-state rivals, there was a bevy of storylines including the starting pitcher. Freshman Marc DeGusipe had a solid collegiate debut as he pitched 2.2 innings, striking out three, allowing three hits and three earned runs. He was in the game when he gave up one run and left the game with two runners on base. 

McCormack took DeGusipe out of the game to put in reliever Jon Jon Kostantis, then came a disastrous third inning. The sophomore pitcher walked his first batter, loading the bases then let go of a double by Richie Garcia which scored all three runs. 

McCormack talked post-game about his assessment of Degusipe in his first start and how he could’ve handled his outing better.

“I thought Marc [DeGusipe] was good, I probably made a mistake after he struck out [Brian] Ellis in the third inning,” McCormack said. “Probably should’ve gotten him out after that because then he walked the next batter, little mix up against [Alex] Brait, then when Jon Jon went in he struggled.” 

Even though the Owls were on the board because of a run scored in the first inning, they had a tough mountain to climb as they were down by three runs early in the game. Turns out the mountain was easy to climb. 

FAU started to generate some offense in the bottom of the third inning as with runners on first and second base, sophomore Mitchell Haritgan hit a double to left-center field to drive in Andru Summerall. Afterward, catcher Nicholas Toney hit a sacrifice fly to cut the deficit to just one run, making the score 4-3.

However, the player of the game is undoubtedly outfielder Bobby Morgensen who gave the Owls the lead in the sixth inning. He singled to left field, scoring two, but he wasn’t done as in the eight, he had another base hit which scored second baseman Francisco Urbaez to give the Owls a two-run lead. He finished the game with three RBIs, bringing his total to five in the young season.

The third inning would be the last time the Eagles scored as pitchers Hunter Cooley, Mike Entenza, Dylan O’Connell and Mitchell Hartigan would pitch six scoreless innings to finish the game. Entenza was credited with the win and was dominant as he pitched 2.1 innings, struck out four batters, only walked one and allowed zero runs. 

Entenza was praised by McCormack after the game, saying he was “phenomenal,” but when asked about his high pitch count at 42, he was hesitant to leave him in. 

“Yes, I was concerned, because relievers are throwing closer to 20 or 30 pitches,” McCormack said. “But that last inning, we couldn’t take him out and he didn’t want to be taken out.”

It wasn’t a typo that Mitchell Hartigan was part of the bullpen. He came into the game in the ninth inning in a save situation. He made only two appearances last season, only throwing 1.1 innings where he threw only one strikeout and allowing three hits and three earned runs. 

While a 13.50 ERA might sound discouraging, he recorded the save against FGCU. He allowed two hits but converted the three outs needed. 

McCormack thought about keeping O’Connell in, especially since he threw a scoreless inning beforehand, but his plans with Hartigan go beyond this game.

“We’re trying to groom Mitch to be a closer,” McCormack said. “So this was a perfect opportunity, he hasn’t been able to because games weren’t close and the rain, but he was pitching tonight regardless and I thought he did a really nice job.”

This could be an interesting development as the season continues because since former closer Zach Schneider is in the minor leagues with the Boston Red Sox, the spot is wide open. Hartigan is proving to be multidimensional, playing outfield, pitching and being productive offensively. Will he be consistent? All signs point positively. 

The Owls have their second series of the new campaign starting Friday, Feb. 21 until Sunday, Feb. 23 against Binghamton. The first game will start at 6:30 p.m. at FAU Baseball Stadium.

Zachary Weinberger is the sports editor of the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @ZachWeinberger.