FAU Baseball: Owls win three out of four at Western Kentucky

FAU outscored Western Kentucky 23-13 throughout the series.


Photo by Eston Parker III.

Richard Pereira, Sports Editor

The FAU Owls baseball team (27-21, 16-12 C-USA) played their final road series this weekend against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers (24-24, 14-14 C-USA). The Owls won three out of four contests against the Hilltoppers, giving them an advantage record-wise in the standings of Conference USA.

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


Game 1 (Friday, May 7, 2021): FAU 6, WKU 3

The Owls opened the series with a win, taking down the Hilltoppers 6-3.

Western Kentucky scored all three of its runs in the third inning. Two RBI singles to right field by sophomore outfielder Jackson Gray and senior infielder Richard Constantine and a sac fly from sophomore infielder Matthew Meyer gave the Hilltoppers the 3-0 lead.

The Owls imitated what the Hilltoppers did in the fifth inning; the only difference is that they scored more runs.

Freshman infielder Steven Loden ignited FAU’s offense with a single to right field, driving home senior infielder Wilfredo Alvarez. Freshman infielder Nolan Schanuel got to home plate due to a wild pitch from the Hilltoppers’ redshirt sophomore Jake Kates, sophomore outfielder Mitchell Hartigan earned two RBIs after hitting a double to right-center field, and senior outfielder Bobby Morgensen and junior outfielder Jackson Wenstrom hit two RBI singles to complete the six-run inning for the Owls.

Western Kentucky went silent for the rest of the game due to a solid pitching performance by FAU’s sophomore Hunter Cooley. He pitched the entire game as he threw 114 pitches and got 12 flyouts and eight groundouts.


Game 2 (Friday, May 7, 2021): WKU 6, FAU 5

FAU was unable to complete Friday’s doubleheader with two wins as they lost 6-5 due to the game-winning walk-off by Western Kentucky.

Similar to the first game, the Hilltoppers scored first, getting two runs in the first inning thanks to two RBI singles from Meyer and senior infielder Kevin Lambert.

Redshirt junior Matt Sparling came off the mound after four innings to let freshman Sam Drumheller check-in. Sparling finished with 57 pitches thrown, six groundouts, and five flyouts.

The Owls came to life in the fifth inning, scoring four runs to take the lead. Loden hit a three-run home run to center field and Wenstrom got an RBI double to left-center field, driving Hartigan to home plate.

Western Kentucky, not wanting the same thing to happen again, responded in the same inning. Back-to-back home runs by senior outfielder Ray Zuberer III and junior infielder Justin Carlin allowed the Hilltoppers to tie the game.

FAU refused to back down, getting a home run from Morgensen to take back the lead.

Drumheller subbed out after two innings to have Mike Entenza step on the mound. Drumheller threw 29 pitches, struck out three batters, and had three flyouts.

Unfortunately for Entenza, Western Kentucky came through in the end. Consecutive RBI singles by Zuberer and Carlin gave the Hilltoppers the walk-off victory.


Game 3 (Saturday, May 8, 2021): FAU 6, WKU 3

FAU got the crucial win it needed in the first game of the second doubleheader Saturday afternoon, taking down Western Kentucky 6-3.

The Hilltoppers opened up the scoring after Constantine hit a double to left-center field, driving Carlin to home plate.

After a scoreless first inning, FAU equalized with Morgensen hitting a home run to right field, making it his tenth of the season.

The third inning had both teams score one run each. FAU got a home run from sophomore infielder BJ Murray, but Western Kentucky again tied the game thanks to Gray sacrificing a groundout to get Zuberer to home plate.

Western Kentucky eventually took the lead in the fifth inning due to Carlin hitting a triple to left-center field, driving senior catcher Matt Phipps home.

After three scoreless innings, the game went down to the wire in the final inning. FAU tied the game with an RBI walk from Murray that allowed freshman outfielder Jalen DeBose to reach home plate, and then Schanuel hit a clutch double to left-center field that awarded three runs to the Owls, giving them the three-run lead to end their turn.

Sophomore pitcher Javi Rivera subbed out to let freshman Dante Visconti pitch the final inning. Rivera threw 114 pitches, struck out six batters, and got nine groundouts and seven flyouts.

Visconti got the outcome he wanted, conceding no runs as he got a flyout and back-to-back groundouts to secure what was an important win for the Owls.


Game 4 (Saturday, May 8, 2021): FAU 6, WKU 1

The Owls concluded the series with a win, beating the Hilltoppers 6-1.

FAU got on the scoreboard first as the team scored two runs in the second inning. Hartigan got an RBI single and freshman catcher Caleb Pendleton sacrificed a groundout to get sophomore catcher Nicholas Toney to home plate.

The third inning featured another pair of runs by FAU thanks to another RBI single by Hartigan and a double down the infield line from Pendleton, making the score 4-0.

Redshirt sophomore pitcher Brock Helverson came off the mound in the third to let redshirt junior Dylan O’Connell check-in. Helverson ended his day with 51 pitches thrown, three strikeouts, two flyouts, and two groundouts.

Schanuel continued his outstanding performance as a freshman, hitting a home run to left field in the fourth inning to receive his tenth this season.

Western Kentucky finally scored in the fifth inning thanks to Gray reaching on a fielder’s choice as it allowed redshirt freshman outfielder Ty Crittenberger to get to home plate.

O’Connell checked out after pitching 2.2 innings, letting Drumheller enter the game. O’Connell threw 36 pitches, struck out three batters, and had four groundouts.

After two scoreless innings, the Owls added another run due to Murray hitting a single to right field, driving home Pendleton.

Western Kentucky’s final effort had nothing come to fruition as Drumheller prevented them from earning any runs in the final inning, getting two groundouts and a popout to end the series in FAU’s favor.

The Owls return home to Boca Raton, hosting their final series against the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles on May 14 at 5 p.m., May 15 at 2 p.m., and May 16 at noon. The series will be broadcast on C-USA TV.

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