FAU Baseball: Owls sweep Sacred Heart over three-game series

With the sweep, FAU extends its winning streak to seven.


Bryce Totz

Photo of #17 senior catcher Shane Magrann (left) and #34 sophomore catcher Caleb Pendleton (right) jogging toward the dugout prior to the start of Friday’s contest.

The FAU Owls Baseball team (13-4) swept the Sacred Heart Pioneers (1-13) over the weekend. 

Game 1 (Friday, March 11): FAU 6, Sacred Heart 3

The Owls’ key to success was solid pitching in their 6-3 win over Sacred Heart Friday night. 

“We’re getting a little more consistent in the bullpen but we’ve got to keep working at it,” said head coach John McCormack. “We’ve gotta become a little more dominant and strike guys out. The more times the ball is in play, the worse off things are, as we saw tonight.”

Senior right-hander and team co-captain Hunter Cooley got the start for FAU and was in rhythm from the first pitch, retiring the first nine batters without allowing a hit. 

FAU also started the game hot on offense with three consecutive base hits to lead off the bottom of the first, taking a 1-0 lead. An RBI single by sophomore catcher Caleb Pendleton and an RBI double by sophomore left fielder Dylan Goldstein helped the Owls go ahead 4-0 in the first inning.

The Owls’ bats stayed hot in the bottom of the second inning with sophomore first baseman Nolan Schanuel hitting a double down the left field line, followed by junior third baseman Jackson Ross knocking a two-run homer over the left field fence to make the score 6-0. 

Sacred Heart finally plated some runs in the top of the fourth via three singles and a sac fly, which slimmed FAU’s lead to 6-3. 

Cooley’s productive night on the mound ended after the sixth inning as junior right-hander Evan Watebor came out of the bullpen in the top of the seventh. In six innings, Cooley threw 99 pitches and allowed three runs on five hits. 

“I’m extremely satisfied with Hunter Cooley,” said McCormack. “He does everything correctly. He’s a really good student, he’s a really good teammate, he can do a little bit of everything on the mound. I just really appreciate everything he does.”

Waterbor continued on a good pitching night for FAU throwing 31 pitches over two innings allowing only two hits. 

After FAU failed to score any late insurance runs, redshirt sophomore right-hander Robert Wegielnik came into pitch in the top of the ninth. Wegielnik retired the side in four batters with two strikeouts to earn the save and leave the score 6-3 at the end of the game.

“Offensively we got off to a great start, but kind of sat on it. I thought we had some really complacent at-bats late in the game, but it happens, it’s just good to get a win,” McCormack said.

Game 2 (Saturday, March 12): FAU 10, Sacred Heart 2 

FAU followed the win Friday night with another dominant performance in a 10-2 victory over the Pioneers on Saturday. 

Sophomore first baseman Nolan Schanuel started the afternoon well for the Owls, knocking an RBI single into left field to take a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. 

In the bottom of the second, Schanuel hit his second RBI single, scoring a runner and stretching the Owls’ lead to 2-0.

The Owls put together a huge rally in the bottom of the third inning to plate five more runs. A pair of RBI base hits followed by an RBI double from sophomore outfielder Gabriel Rincones Jr. put the Owls ahead 7-0 in the fourth inning. 

Sophomore right-hander Tibur Rivero got the start on the mound for FAU and continued the previous game’s trend of efficient pitching. Rivero held the Pioneers scoreless through the first four innings before allowing two runs in the top of the fifth, making the score 7-2.

In the fifth, freshman left-hander Max Martzolf relieved Rivero, who threw 90 pitches over 5 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits.

Martzolf threw 39 pitches over 1 2/3 innings without allowing a run and only a single hit before being replaced by sophomore left-hander Sam Drumheller in the eighth inning. 

In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Owls plated three more runs with a pair of RBIs and a passed ball to stretch their lead to 10-2. 

Freshman right-hander Bryan Boully took the mound in the top of the ninth for FAU and retired the side in four batters without allowing a run or hit to seal the win for the Owls. 

Cameron Priester is a staff writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @PriesterCameron. 

Game 3 (Sunday, March 13): FAU 11, Sacred Heart 1

The Owls got their second weekend sweep with an 11-1 victory Sunday afternoon.

FAU wasted no time, scoring six runs in the bottom of the first inning. With bases loaded and no outs, sophomore left-fielder Dylan Goldstein hit his fourth home run of the year and his first grand slam with the Owls. Sophomore center-fielder Gabriel Rincones Jr., sophomore first baseman Nolan Schanuel, and junior third baseman Jackson Ross scored on the play.

“We played well,” said head coach John McCormack. “The key to the game was the zero in the first and us scoring six against their best arm, statistically. That was good to see.”

The Owls had a solid defensive effort as they did not allow the Pioneers to score until the top of the sixth inning with a run by their senior third baseman Joe Emerson. At that point, FAU led 9-1.

McCormack was delighted to give game time to some of his players like starting graduate left-hander Tyler Burnham. Burnham pitched four innings, taking on 14 batters and getting two strikeouts.

“Another game where we got to get some guys in the game to get some experience. It was a really good sign to see Burnham go four [innings]. Maybe next week, five [innings]. All in all, it was a good day.”

FAU ended the game with 11 runs, 14 hits and one error.

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.