FAU baseball: Owls fall to No.1 Florida, defeat No. 6 Miami

The Owls broke their four game losing streak by beating the Hurricanes, 11-2.

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Freshmen Marc DeGusipe made his second start of the season as he pitched three innings giving up five earned runs while striking out two in the loss to No. 6 Florida. Photo by Ashley Herman.

The past few days have been busy for the FAU baseball team as they faced two big Florida programs. Here’s how they fared against both the Gators and the Hurricanes this week. 

FAU v. No. 1 Florida Gators (March 3)

Bryce Totz I Contributing Writer 

After beginning the season with seven straight wins, FAU dropped their fourth game straight in a 7-3 loss against No. 1 Florida on Tuesday.

Freshman Marc DeGusipe started for just the second time in his collegiate career. He pitched three innings, allowing six hits and five earned runs. He threw 76 pitches before his day was done. DeGusipe walked three, and recorded two strikeouts. 

“I don’t think he’s gotten over the emotion of college baseball,” head coach John McCormack said. “We just got to keep getting him out there, getting him reps.”

The first inning was beneficial for the Owls’ offense, as they scored two runs off of a home run hit by third baseman B.J. Murray. He hit the ball off the top of the fence in left field, the only home run of the game.

“We were aggressive to get guys on base,” McCormack said.

FAU was able to tie the game in the second inning, as they held Florida scoreless, and drove in one run. Shortstop Wilfred Alvarez was credited with the RBI that sent Jackson Wenstrom, centerfielder, to home plate. 

The Gators were able to score two runs in the third inning, giving them a two-run lead. After that, DeGusipe was pulled out of the game and replaced by reliever Adrien Reese. Reese pitched for two innings, allowing just one hit, one walk, and recording two strikeouts.

Although both teams had opportunities, the next four innings of the game were scoreless. FAU loaded the bases a couple of times, and also occasionally had runners on second and third base — but they were unable to drive in runs.

“We had bad approaches,” McCormack said. “Our approach was bad with runners in scoring position.”

Junior Mike Entenza came in to relieve Reese in the sixth inning. He didn’t allow any hits, and recorded three strikeouts in his 1.2 innings. Junior Dylan O’Connell came out to relieve Entenza for 1.1 innings. During that, O’Connell gave up three hits, two runs and a walk. 

O’Connell only earned one run and gave up an RBI with two outs in the eighth inning, while the other run in the inning was reached by error. The catcher, Nicholas Toney, threw a wild pitch to the third baseman in an attempt to catch the runner off the base. 

Michael Schuler closed the game for FAU. He pitched the ninth inning, allowing one hit and no walks or runs. 

The Owls were unable to score after the second inning, but they were able to get 11 hits and three runs against a team that is now 12-0. They need to move on to their next game and put this one behind them.

“Baseball guys are really resilient,” McCormack said. “I would imagine by the time we get back to Boca, they will be like, ‘You know, it is what it is. Let’s move on to the next game.’”

FAU v. No. 6 Miami Hurricanes (March 4)

FAU second basemen Francisco Urbaez went 3/5 with a home run in the eighth inning that sealed the game for the Owls against the No. 6 Hurricanes. Photo by: Eston Parker.

Zachary Weinberger I Sports Editor 

After losing four straight games, all to ranked opponents, the Owls broke their skid in grand fashion beating No. 6 University of Miami, 11-2. 

“I’m proud of the guys, it’s been a long week,” FAU head coach John McCormack said. “I thought they played fantastic and Hunter Cooley was amazing. Compared to the game against Florida, we continued to add on runs to make it easier for us, so it was a good night.”

With the high praise for Cooley, it was much deserved as he pitched 6.2 innings, allowing six hits, two earned runs while striking out five batters. The sophomore pitcher, in his first start of the season, was calm and collected on the mound despite facing a top ten team in the country.  

Cooley only had three appearances as a relief pitcher this season before last night’s start. So will he stay a starter, go back to the bullpen or will he do both? McCormack weighed in:

“He’ll do both. We call him the swiss-army knife,” McCormack said. “He does a little bit of everything, he didn’t pitch against Florida so Miami was the perfect opportunity for him. He can throw strikes, he can control the game. But, I didn’t think we get this much out of him, he’d never done that in his career.”

The bats were on fire for the Owls. It started in the third inning when centerfielder Jackson Wenstrom singled to bring home catcher Nicholas Toney. It became batting practice afterwards as three players totaled two RBIs which included the likes of second baseman Francisco Urbaez, Wenstrom and Toney. 

While scoring 11 runs against the Hurricanes is a mind-boggling stat, what goes under the radar is that Miami had a total of eight pitchers play.

Offensive explosions occurred in the sixth and eighth innings as FAU scored eight in both frames. What sealed the deal was Urbaez’s three-run homerun to left field, at this moment this was when Hurricanes fans started to file out of their seats.

To McCormack, the root of the success for the offense goes much deeper than hitting the ball well.

“We got in good counts,” McCormack said. “When we got in those counts, we were able to do something with it. The past week, we were in the same thing but couldn’t put the barrel to the ball, which led us to keep extending the lead.”

After losing four straight games, the confidence level for FAU could’ve been affected negatively coming into this game. McCormack disagreed.

“I don’t think we ever lost confidence,” McCormack said. “I was actually really impressed because you never know how they’re going to come out of the locker room for BP [batting practice] and they were loose, so we were in a good spot and they deserve it.”

While beating No. 6 Miami is huge for the program, they now set their sights on Northeastern, which will be their first series at home since their sweep of Binghamton two weeks ago.

Zachary Weinberger (sports editor) and Bryce Totz (contributing writer) write for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email them [email protected], [email protected] or tweet them @ZachWeinberger, @brycetotz.