FAU Baseball: Owls win three out of four at FIU

It marks the Owls’ second series win in conference play this season.


Photo by Eston Parker III.

Michael Gennaro and Richard Pereira

The FAU Owls baseball team (21-19, 10-10 C-USA) played another four-game road series this past weekend, this time in Miami against the Florida International University Panthers (16-24, 7-13 C-USA). FAU took three out of four of those games, beating FIU in a convincing fashion.

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


Game 1 (Friday, April 23, 2021): FAU 11, FIU 6

In the opener of eight straight meetings between the two schools, FAU demolished FIU 11-6 on Friday night.

Freshman second baseman Steven Loden led the way for FAU’s offense with three hits, three RBIs and his second home run of the season. Freshman catcher Caleb Pendleton added three RBIs of his own, including a two-run homer, his fifth of the year.

Sophomore left-handed pitcher Hunter Cooley settled down after a rough first inning, throwing 108 pitches through seven strong innings with seven strikeouts. Cooley frustrated FIU’s batters, allowing only two extra-base hits and escaping a situation involving two men on base with no outs in the bottom of the second that changed the tenor of the game.

The Owls’ offense had 11 hits and three home runs, battering FIU’s ace redshirt junior pitcher Tyler Myrick, who left in the top of the fifth inning after suffering an apparent injury. 

Myrick gave up five earned runs, struck out only three and threw two wild pitches. He struggled all night to find a putaway pitch, with FAU hitters repeatedly getting into deep counts.

The game started poorly for FAU, as Cooley surrendered a leadoff homer to redshirt senior second baseman Derek Cartaya to left field. It was Cartaya’s first career home run, coming in his 607th collegiate at-bat. FIU added another run in the first frame when redshirt third baseman Alec Sanchez darted home from third on a double steal. FAU’s Pendleton threw to second on the play, allowing Sanchez to break home and beat the throw.

FAU answered back in the second inning, taking the lead 3-2. Pendleton hit an RBI single, Loden got an RBI groundout, and senior shortstop Wilfredo Alvarez a two-out RBI single.

The turning point of the game came in the second inning. FIU had two on base with no outs but Cooley escaped the jam with no damage done, inducing two groundouts after a sacrifice bunt attempt.

FAU added two more in the fourth, with sophomore left fielder Mitchell Hartigan leading off the inning with a double. Two batters later, Loden scorched a double down the right field line, scoring Hartigan. Alvarez hit another two-out RBI single in the frame, blooping a ball to right field to make it 5-2 in favor of the Owls.

FIU added a run in the bottom of the fifth, but Loden answered in the sixth with his second homer of the year, a no-doubter over the right field fence. Freshman center fielder Jalen DeBose stole two bases with two outs and scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-3 FAU.

The Owls’ dominance at the plate was punctuated with a pair of home runs in the late innings, one by Pendleton and the other by senior right fielder Bobby Morgensen. It was the second straight game with a home run by Morgensen and his seventh home run of the year.

FIU threatened with the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings, but FAU survived both situations and held on to the large lead it accumulated in the first eight innings.


Game 2 (Saturday, April 24, 2021): FAU 16, FIU 7

FAU’s offense exploded in the first game of the doubleheader, torching FIU 16-7.

The Owls got on the scoreboard first thanks to an unearned run by Alvarez, who scored due to a passed ball by FIU.

FAU continued scoring into the second inning, getting two runs by walks due to all the bases being loaded. The RBIs went to Alvarez and BJ Murray as a result. 

FIU got the first home run of the game in the bottom of the second with redshirt junior outfielder Justin Farmer hitting the ball to left center field, getting two runs for the Panthers.

The Owls’ offense exploded in the third, scoring six runs while keeping the Panthers silent on the other end. The runs came from a home run to left field by Morgensen, two RBI singles from Loden and Toney, two unearned runs by DeBose and sophomore catcher Nicholas Toney, and an RBI groundout by Alvarez that drove Pendleton to home plate.

FAU didn’t let up in the fourth, capping off a 10-0 run with an RBI single to left field by Loden and a spectacular three-run home run by Nolan Schanuel. This gave FAU a 13-2 lead before FIU got its turn to bat.

The Panthers got a run back thanks to redshirt junior outfielder Seth Cannady hitting a home run to center field, but it kept them facing a large deficit placed on them by the Owls.

FIU finally found its offensive rhythm in the fifth, starting off with Cartaya scoring off a wild pitch by FAU’s freshman pitcher Dante Visconti. 

After conceding his fourth run, Visconti came off the mound for sophomore Jackson Spiller to check in. Visconti ended his day throwing 75 pitches, striking out two batters, and getting five foul outs and four groundouts.

Spiller wasn’t prepared for what came to him as Farmer hit a double to left field, allowing the Panthers to get three runs to cut the deficit to six.

The Owls scored three more runs in the sixth with Morgensen hitting a single to drive home Murray, Toney getting a sac fly to get Schanuel to home plate, and putting the last home run of the game from Hartigan.

Despite the Panthers’ efforts in the fifth, it didn’t carry them all the way through as it was too late.


Game 3 (Saturday, April 24, 2021): FIU 6, FAU 5

The Owls tried to end the doubleheader with a win, but the Panthers prevented that from happening as they won 6-5.

After a scoreless first inning, FAU got the first run of the game with an RBI single to right field from DeBose, who drove home Hartigan as a result.

The Panthers responded in the same inning by scoring five consecutive runs as freshman outfielder Mario Zabala scored on a balk, freshman shortstop Steven Ondina got to home plate due to a wild pitch from the Owls’ redshirt junior Matt Sparling, Cartaya hit a two-run home run to left field, and Cannady hit an RBI single up the middle of the field to give FIU the 5-1 lead.

FAU got back in the game in the fourth with a three-run home run to right field by junior infielder Jared DeSantolo, getting himself, Loden, and Hartigan to home plate.

FIU scored its final run of the game with Farmer hitting a home run to left field, giving the Panthers a two-run lead over the Owls.

Sparling subbed out after five innings to let freshman Braden Ostrander enter the game. Sparling turned in a performance of 81 pitches thrown, three strikeouts, seven foul outs, and five groundouts.

The final inning featured Hartigan hitting a home run to left field, giving the Owls one last chance to equalize. Unfortunately, Pendleton struck out looking, ending the game in favor of FIU.


Game 4 (Sunday, April 25, 2021): FAU 8, FIU 7

FAU escaped a nailbiter in the final game of the series, getting past FIU 8-7.

FIU got on the scoreboard first thanks to an RBI double to left center field by redshirt freshman catcher Ben Rozenblum as he also scored on a wild pitch from FAU’s sophomore Javi Rivera.

After a scoreless second inning, the Owls scored three runs of their own. Schanuel hit an RBI double as he drove home Alvarez, and Murray scored an unearned run due to a passed ball. Hartigan scored FAU’s last run in the inning, hitting a double to right field to earn the RBI.

The Panthers took back the lead in the same inning, getting a sac fly from Rozenblum and an RBI double through the left side of the field from redshirt senior catcher Luis Chavez.

Rivera came off the mound in the fourth with freshman Sam Drumheller to sub in for him. Rivera finished his day throwing 69 pitches, getting seven fly outs, and grounding out two batters. 

The Owls equalized in the sixth inning due to a sac fly by Pendleton that allowed Hartigan to get to home plate.

FAU took the lead in the next inning with Toney hitting an RBI single that drove in Schanuel, making the score 5-4.

The final inning featured tense moments for both sides. The Owls completed a 5-0 run that involved Loden hitting an RBI single up the middle of the field, DeBose getting an RBI single to right field, and an unearned run by Pendleton.

FIU refused to give up as the team got a double RBI from freshman first baseman Adrian Figueroa and an RBI walk from Chavez that allowed Cartaya to reach home plate, making the score 8-7.

Ostrander, who checked in for Drumheller once FIU started cutting the lead, came through for the Owls as he struck out Cannady to clinch the series win.

The Owls return home to finish their matchup against the Panthers on April 30 at 5 p.m., May 1 at 2 p.m. (doubleheader), and May 2 at noon. The series will be broadcast on C-USA TV.

Michael Gennaro is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or follow him on Instagram @mycoolgennaro

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