FAU Baseball: Eighth inning collapse dooms Owls in 7-6 loss at No. 2 Miami

The Owls lost all three games against the Hurricanes this season.


Eston Parker III

Bryan Boully throws against the Miami Hurricanes on April 12, 2022. In 1 1/3 innings pitched, he allowed two runs.

Eston Parker III, Lead Photographer

In what might be the most frustrating night for the FAU Owls (21-13, 7-5 C-USA) so far this season, they lost a 7-6 matchup to the second-ranked Miami Hurricanes (27-6, 10-2 ACC) in Coral Gables on Tuesday night.

The Owls flew high in the first inning as redshirt sophomore second baseman Steven Loden knocked in an RBI to open FAU’s account. Shortly after, sophomore first baseman Nolan Schanuel scored via an infield error.

Freshman right-hander Bryan Boully started the night on the mound for the Owls, getting through the first inning unscathed. After striking out the first batter, the Owls ended the first inning with a smooth infield double play.

Boully couldn’t hold back the Canes for much longer, however, as freshman outfielder Zach Levenson got an RBI via a single in the second inning. 

Boully only faced one more batter, eventually ending the night with 1 1/3 innings pitched. He gave up two earned runs, three hits, and only struck out one batter.

Redshirt sophomore left-hander Marc DeGusipe came in relief of Boully with one out in the first, yet Miami scored one more run in the second inning thanks to a sac fly from sophomore catcher Carlos Perez.

Following an eventful opening two innings in which both teams were matching each other, the game followed a path similar to their previous meeting in late March.

Both teams were effective from the mound and stepped up defensively when needed from the third to the fifth inning. 

The Owls showed dominance on both ends in the bottom of the fifth and top of the sixth, beginning with an effective inning from sophomore right-handed pitcher Nicholas Del Prado. He struck out one batter and gave up no runs.

FAU then took a strong advantage over the Hurricanes in the top of the sixth, starting with Loden scoring after another Miami error. Then immediately with two runners on base, junior third baseman Jackson Ross hit both runners via a deep single to left field. 

FAU eventually saw their lead grow to 6-2 after sophomore right fielder Gabriel Rincones Jr. singled to right field, knocking in one RBI.

The Hurricanes were unable to put up an immediate response in the sixth inning, but they garnered momentum in the seventh. 

Following a clean top seventh inning in which they kept their deficit to four, the Hurricanes cut the deficit in half in one play from both an RBI and sloppy defense from FAU. 

Junior catcher Maxwell Romero Jr., playing designated hitter for the game, singled off FAU freshman southpaw Max Martzolf and got an RBI. Meanwhile, Gabriel Rincones Jr.’s errant throw resulted in an error for the Owls, resulting in another Miami run.

The Owls ended the seventh with their lead intact, but their now two-run lead seemed insufficient against a momentum-carrying Miami squad.

After a disappointing top eighth, in which FAU left one runner on base, the Hurricanes stormed in their half and took control of the game.

As redshirt sophomore right-hander Robert Wegielnik came onto the mound for FAU, Miami was on a tightrope with two outs and runners on first and second. However, unlike his effective outing in last week’s victory against UCF, Wegielnik’s Tuesday night outing against Miami will likely be one to forget for him.

Wegielnik immediately gave up an RBI, yet FAU still had an edge with a one-run lead and runners on first and second. Directly after the RBI, Wegielnik was given a balk call and then hit the Miami batter on a 3-2 count.

With the bases loaded, Wegielnik then threw a wild pitch, resulting in Miami tying up the game. In what was the last batter he faced on the night, Wegielnik again gave up a run on a 3-2 count. This time, it was an RBI single from Miami’s sophomore outfielder Jacob Burke.

After seeing their lead disappear in excruciating fashion, Wegielnik was replaced by sophomore left-handed pitcher Sam Drumheller, who eventually got the Owls out of the eighth without allowing another run.

The mood in FAU’s dugout shifted from cautious optimism to shock and visible frustration as the dugout was silent entering the final stretch.

In what was eventually the final nail in the coffin for FAU, Miami put in their dominant closing pitcher, sophomore right-hander Andrew Walters. He entered the night allowing no runs so far this season and ended the night the same way, striking out all three of FAU’s batters to end the night.

Miami junior left-handed pitcher JP Gates was credited with the victory, his first of the season, while Wegielnik got his first loss of the season. Walters secured his 11th save so far this campaign, having yet to allow a single run in 19 ⅔ innings this season.

The Owls will look to rebound as they face off against C-USA opponent Western Kentucky on Thursday, April 14, in Boca Raton at 6:30 p.m. in the opener of a three-game series. The series will be broadcast on C-USA TV.

Eston Parker III is the lead photographer for the University Press. For more information on this story and others, email him at [email protected] or tweet him @estonparker.