FAU Baseball: Owls win one out of two against Florida Gulf Coast

FAU scored all of its 14 runs in the series against the Eagles in Sunday’s matchup.

BJ+Murray+%28%239%29+and+Caleb+Pendleton+%28%2334%29+celebrate+after+scoring+against+Florida+Gulf+Coast+on+Sunday.+Photo+by+Eston+Parker+III.

BJ Murray (#9) and Caleb Pendleton (#34) celebrate after scoring against Florida Gulf Coast on Sunday. Photo by Eston Parker III.

The FAU Owls baseball team (8-2) had a two-game series against the Florida Gulf Coast University Eagles (7-3), and they came out with a win on Sunday.

Here’s the University Press game-by-game recap of the action.

 

Game 1 (Friday, March 5, 2021): FGCU 8, FAU 0

Following the Owl’s 3-2 victory over the Florida Gators this past Wednesday, FAU struggled mightily against the Eagles on Friday. The Owls lost 8-0 and was held to their first shutout of the season. 

FAU cohesively struggled on Friday, but its lack of hits arguably stands out the most. After averaging almost ten runs and hits per game, the Eagles held the Owls to no runs and only two hits. Altogether, FAU simply could not get runners on base, only managing three walks the entire game. 

FGCU controlled the momentum throughout the game, established its lead in the third inning, and never looked back. 

Senior pitcher Mason Studstill led the Eagles on the mound, who put in eight innings and threw for nine strikeouts. Contributed by a stunning pitching performance, sophomore utility Joe Kinker led FGCU’s offense. Kinker smashed in four RBIs off five hits; he got on base for every one of his appearances at-bat . 

For the Owls, sophomore pitcher Jackson Spiller sustained his first loss of the season. He threw for four innings and allowed three runs off eight hits, meanwhile only striking out two batters. He was followed by junior pitcher Adrien Reese, who certainly had a night to forget, allowing three runs off 1.2 innings pitched. 

Freshman pitcher Dante Visconti relieved Reese’s pressure, throwing 1.1 innings and only allowing one run and one hit. Redshirt junior pitcher Dylan O’Connell put in an inning after Visconti, also allowing only one run off one hit. Lastly, redshirt junior Thomas Haggerty came in and threw one inning and arguably had the best pitching performance for the Owls, allowing no runs and no hits. 

 

Game 2 (Saturday, March 6, 2021): Postponed to March 30

According to a press release from FAU Athletics, Saturday’s game at Fort Myers was postponed due to “expected weather.” 

The game will be rescheduled to March 30, between the first two series FAU has against Conference USA opponents Marshall and Charlotte. The time for the game has yet to be determined.

 

Game 3 (Sunday, March 7, 2021): FAU 14, FGCU 9

The Owls bounced back on Sunday afternoon, beating the Eagles in a resounding 14-9 win.

Sophomore pitcher Javi Rivera got off to a good start for the Owls, keeping the Eagles scoreless in the first inning.

FAU forgot its scoreless performance on Friday, as the team put up six runs in the inning due to RBIs from freshman first baseman Nolan Schanuel, sophomore infielder BJ Murray, freshman catcher Caleb Pendleton, redshirt freshman infielder Sam Low, freshman infielder Cade Parker and senior infielder Wilfredo Alvarez, as well as poor pitching from the Eagles.

“The mindset was to win, to come out here and play well and win and get back on track,” head coach John McCormack said. “We needed to reel it back in which I thought we did a good job, especially right off the bat to score six in the first [inning].”

FAU extended its lead to eight in the second inning thanks to a home run from Murray, bringing himself and Schanuel to home plate.

Another run went in the Owls’ favor, courtesy of Alvarez running to home plate after a flyout by Schanuel.

Low boosted the Owls’ lead to 13 with a grand slam in the fifth inning, taking himself, junior outfielder Jackson Wenstrom, Pendleton, and Murray to home plate.

The Eagles finally put a run on the board after five scoreless innings. The run was scored by senior infielder Richie Garcia. 

FGCU used that run as fuel to cut the deficit to seven in the seventh inning. The RBIs came from redshirt sophomore outfielder Brian Ellis and sophomore utility Joe Kinker. 

The Eagles continued cutting the Owls’ lead to four in the top of the eighth inning due to home runs from senior infielder Cameron Krzeminski and freshman infielder Kyle Machado.

“I thought that we gave away a lot of at-bats when we scored 13,” McCormack said. “Not understanding what they’re trying to do against us, which certainly was not good.”

FAU got a point back in the bottom of the eighth inning due to a pitching error from the Eagles. Sophomore outfielder Mitchell Hartigan took advantage of the error by getting to home plate.

FGCU’s last efforts to tie the game were stopped by excellent pitching from FAU’s sophomore Hunter Cooley, resulting in the Owls getting the deserved win.

Redshirt junior pitcher Matt Sparling had the most innings pitched out of the four pitchers who participated for FAU, having 4.2 innings pitched in the game. Rivera was the runner-up with 2.0 innings pitched.

The Owls will be heading to Coral Gables to face the Miami Hurricanes on March 9 at 6 p.m. It will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra.

Eston Parker III is the Photo Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @EstonParker.

Richard Pereira is the Sports Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Rich26Pereira.