FAU Baseball: Owls take two of three against Delaware

FAU outscored the Blue Hens 18-12 over the weekend series.


Alex Liscio

UP stock photo of the infielders gather for a mound visit in the middle of an FAU baseball game. Photo by Alex Liscio.

The FAU Owls baseball team (5-3) hosted the University of Delaware Blue Hens (2-4) for a three-game set. The Owls won two out of three.

Heading into the series, FAU was 6-0 all-time against Delaware.

Here is the game-by-game recap of the series:

Game 1 (Friday, Feb. 25): Delaware 8, FAU 5

The FAU Owls struggled on the mound in their 8-5 loss to the Blue Hens on Friday night.

“We didn’t pitch at all in the beginning, didn’t pitch at all,” head coach John McCormack said.

The first inning was quiet, but Delaware started to tack on runs in the second inning. The first run of the game was scored on a wild pitch thrown by redshirt senior right-hander Jacob Josey.

The Hens added two more runs in the third inning after three singles and a sac fly. 

Delaware plated two runs in the fourth inning via a two-run shot over the Owls’ bullpen in right field with nobody out. The homer ended Josey’s night. He threw 50 pitches in 3 ⅓ innings and five runs on nine hits. 

“Sometimes you manage your game with your heart and not your head and this is one of those nights where we keep thinking [Josey’s] going to turn it around,” McCormack said. “I guess we can’t think that anymore.” 

Junior left-hander Evan Waterbor took over with runners on second and third and one out in the fourth. He finished the inning unscathed.

Sophomore left fielder Gabriel Rincones Jr. fired a ball over the scoreboard in the bottom of the fourth for the Owls’ first run of the night. 

Delaware scored three times in the fifth, making it 8-1. They scored via a two-run homer, followed by a single and a triple. 

FAU got another run back in the bottom half after a leadoff homer from senior catcher Shane Magrann, but the team still trailed 8-2 heading into the sixth which left McCormack frustrated.

“It’s a really good swing, that’s fantastic, but it’s not that,” he said. “It’s the second and third, nobody out, or one out, and we can’t get the run across.” 

Freshman right-hander Bryce Braxton took the mound for the Owls in the sixth inning. Waterbor finished the night with 34 pitches in 1 ⅔ innings, as he allowed three runs on three hits and a walk.

The scoreboard remained the same until Kelder hit a leadoff homer in the seventh inning. This was the Owls’ third leadoff homer of the night.

“The big home run is great, but we’re not functioning as an offensive unit,” McCormack said. “We’re just standing up there swinging.” 

Following the homer, sophomore shortstop Armando Albert walked to third base after taking a ball to his leg. He then scored after Rincones Jr. singled and Delaware’s redshirt sophomore right-hander Austin Elliot threw a wild pitch. This made the score 8-4.

FAU’s final tally came after two consecutive doubles from junior third baseman Jackson Ross and redshirt sophomore second baseman Steven Loden. 

“We want to be good and we want to accomplish a lot. A night like this can’t happen,” McCormack said. 

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

Game 2 (Saturday, Feb. 26): FAU 8, Delaware 3

Following a rough Friday night on the mound for the Owls, they responded with a strong performance that ended with an 8-3 victory over the Delaware Blue Hens on Saturday.

Senior pitcher Hunter Cooley led FAU on the mound in his second start of the season, and immediately sat down the first three batters he faced in the first inning. In the following half, the Owls quickly put up their first run of the game thanks to an RBI single from junior infielder Jackson Ross.

Delaware quickly responded in the second inning, tying up the game after an RBI double in the second at-bat of the inning. Cooley then showed why he was chosen as the Saturday starter, punching out the next three batters including striking out the last two he faced.

Trading runs in the early stages of the game, FAU regained the lead in the bottom of the second inning through an RBI single from sophomore infielder Armando Albert. 

The Blue Hens again tied the game in the fourth inning thanks to a solo homer to lead off the inning, but their bats were limited as their half ended on a runner being caught attempting to steal second. 

Cooley then effectively cooled off Delaware’s bats for the fifth inning. In the fifth, he again only faced three batters in the inning.

As Delaware’s bats went cold, FAU’s patience at the plate put the heat onto the pitchers for the Blue Hens diminished.

Following two walks and an error, graduate outfielder Tyler Kelder knocked in one run off a single to give the Owls the lead. Leaving the bases loaded, Delaware’s pitcher struggled to locate his pitches as he walked the following two batters. 

After essentially earning two free runs, FAU continued to slowly increase their lead in the fifth inning. They scored three more runs via a fielder’s choice and two groundouts that still individually knocked in a run.

To describe the six-run inning, head coach John McCormack stated, “We [did] what we were supposed to do. We took a walk. We put a ball in play, and they made an error.”

From then on, FAU went on cruise control. Cooley continued to be effective from the mound up until he was taken out in the eighth inning, and did not give up another earned run despite Delaware scoring one run in the seventh inning through an infield error.

Cooley ultimately finished the game with seven full innings pitched, tossing four strikeouts while only allowing one walk and two earned runs. Cooley was credited with the win, earning his second of the season.

“[Cooley] is amazing. You talk about resiliency. You talk about toughness. He embodies all of it. He was fantastic,” McCormack said.

Redshirt sophomore Robert Wegielnik came to the mound for the Owls starting in the eighth, and he too had an effective outing. Finishing the game, he pitched two full innings while striking out three batters and only allowing two hits.

At the plate, the Owls went quiet for the remainder of the game. They were unable to score any runs following their huge fifth inning, and only got one more hit afterwards.

Eston Parker III is the lead photographer for the University Press. For more information on this or other stories, email him at [email protected].

Game 3 (Sunday, Feb. 27): FAU 5, Delaware 1

The Owls ended the series with a 5-1 win over the Blue Hens.

FAU took the early lead in the first inning with runs from freshman third baseman Jackson Ross and sophomore second baseman Steven Loden.

The pace of the game slowed down until the Owls extended their two-run lead in the bottom of the sixth, where graduate left fielder Tyler Kelder and sophomore designated hitter Dylan Goldstein added two more runs.

Down 4-0, Delaware were desperately looking for a run. It took them until the eighth inning to score, where junior infielder Joseph Carpenter got an RBI and allowed sophomore infielder Jake Dunion to get the Blue Hens’ first run of the game.

Head coach John McCormack spoke in high regards to the defensive effort from the players, especially the impact sophomore pitcher Tibur Rivero made.

“The defense played really well,” McCormack said. “Tibur [Rivero] was really good, he was able to get the breaking ball over. [He] made sure that he makes that fastball that much better. Certainly proud of them.”

Rivero threw 86 pitches in 5 2/3 innings, allowing four runs, one walk, and three strikeouts.

FAU’s last run came in the bottom of the eighth made by junior catcher Shane Magrann with Jalen DeBose’s 13th RBI of the season, and second of the game.

The Owls now prepare to host the University of Michigan Wolverines for a two-game series on March 1 and March 2 at 6:30 p.m. at FAU Baseball Stadium. Both games will be broadcast on C-USA TV.

Matthew Aguilar-Lizzi is a staff writer at the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected], or tweet him @mattaguilarUP.