FAU Baseball: Nolan Schanuel looks to improve his skills at the plate this season

Schanuel was named to the All-C-USA Conference second team and freshman teams last season.


Eston Parker III

Photo of Nolan Schanuel.

Bryce Totz, Sports Editor

Many kids grow up playing a sport in the United States, but most don’t start before they celebrate their first birthday, like sophomore first baseman Nolan Schanuel.  

“I grew up playing [baseball], my father and my mother took me out to the field every day when I was little [and] they would throw to me,” he said. “I think I was 10 months old and they threw my first pitch and it was insane.” 

The Boynton Beach native started working with the team to earn his spot on the roster and he knew from the moment he first arrived on campus that he chose the right school. 

“The moment we got here, we felt at home,” Schanuel said. “Mitchell [Hartigan], [Nicholas] Toney, and all the guys just brought us in and we literally fit in like peanut butter and jelly.”

This dedication led to a successful freshman season, allowing him to play every inning of every game.

Head coach John McCormack said that Schanuel is smart and clever smart because he understands concepts, but he is clever because he applies them to his own terms.

“He really is a sharp guy, you don’t find those guys most often,” McCormack said.

Most freshmen are scared of McCormack, but Schanuel said that he and McCormack have become colleagues after getting to know each other.

Schanuel was one of last season’s power hitters and junior catcher Nicholas Toney expects the same this year. Toney said that Schanuel and sophomore catcher Caleb Pendleton are both power hitters.

Last season, Schanuel had a solid slash line with a batting average (BA) of .343, an on-base percentage (OBP) of .444, a slugging percentage (SLG) of .576, and an on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS) of 1.020. He also had 56 runs-batted-in (RBIs), 11 home runs, and stole six bases. Defensively, his fielding percentage (FLD) was .996 and he was part of 38 double-plays.

He was named to the All-Conference Second Team and Freshman Team, but he is focused on the first game of the 2022 campaign.

“I worked hard for it, but that preseason doesn’t really matter as much as everything else right now,” Schanuel said in regards to his C-USA honors. “I really think that as a team, we should be able to go further and put that behind us and not worry about that at all.”

After playing travel games throughout the years, he made his way to Park Vista High School in Lake Worth, Fla. Towards the end of his high school career, he discovered that a former competitor committed to FAU. Schanuel looked up to junior outfielder Mitchell Hartigan, who he knew because he played on Scott Hartigan’s travel team. Scott is Mitchell’s younger brother.

“I knew that he was coming to FAU the year that I committed and I don’t think he knew me then, but I looked up to him,” Schanuel said. “I was like, ‘okay, I gotta be like this kid.’” 

Once arriving, Schanuel quickly learned that this team’s motto was “Only the Family” (OTF), and that everyone acted like a band of brothers. 

“We’re a group of brothers,” he said. “They are the brothers I never had. We get out, go to a locker, and eat together. Everything we do is together.”

Whenever the team goes out to eat, Schanuel said his favorite places to go are New York Grilled Cheese in Boca Raton, or Publix for a chicken tender sub. On the road, however, he enjoys Whataburger, claiming it was a “life-changing experience” eating there for the first time.

Despite enjoying the food on the road, Schanuel had a difficult time adjusting to the length of the season. He transitioned from less than 30 games a season to over 50.

“You can’t help them adjust; you just got to tell them and say it’s coming,” McCormack said. 

Schanuel knows that there is always room for improvement on the diamond.

“I would say at the plate recognition is a big [key],” Schanuel said. “Also mentality-wise, I feel like baseball is the hardest sport mentally because if you’re failing seven out of 10 times, you’re a great player and that’s hard for me to come by because I’ve always wanted to be perfect everywhere.” 

He can look to team veterans for advice or the team captains (Toney and junior pitcher Hunter Cooley).

“I hope I just can be a good role model for them and how I looked up to those [captains],” Cooley said. “I hope that they can be the same with me, to see and help them through tough times.” 

This season, Schanuel wants to focus on every aspect of the game including small details. He said that McCormack has said “either everything matters or nothing matters.”

FAU will open its season with a four-game set from Friday, Feb. 18 through Monday, Feb. 21 against the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers in Boca Raton, Fla. C-USA TV will broadcast all four games. 

Bryce Totz is the Sports Editor at the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @brycetotz.