FAU Baseball: Owls sweep Rice in three-game series

FAU outscored Rice 22-10 over the weekend series.


Eston Parker III

University Press stock photo of #9 sophomore centerfielder Gabriel Rincones Jr.

The FAU Owls baseball team (19-10, 6-3 C-USA) visited the Rice Owls (8-21, 3-6 C-USA) in Houston, Texas, for a three-game series over the weekend. FAU earned its third sweep of the season.

Game 1 (Friday, April 1): FAU 9, Rice 4

FAU beat Rice 9-4 on Friday night without smashing any homers. 

The game started quickly for the FAU Owls as they plated a run in the top of the first. Sophomore shortstop Armando Albert walked to lead off the game then stole second base, sophomore first baseman Nolan Schanuel also walked. Junior third baseman Jackson Ross batted Albert in with an RBI single to center-field.

Rice answered back with a run in their half via a single, a double, and a sacrifice groundout.

FAU opened the game up in the second, scoring three runs. Graduate designated hitter Tyler Kelder led off with a single and sophomore catcher Caleb Pendleton doubled to put two runners in scoring position with just one out. Sophomore center-fielder Jalen DeBose followed that with an RBI single. Albert hit a sacrifice bunt and sophomore right fielder Gabriel Rincones Jr. doubled, bringing FAU’s lead to 4-1.

The game stayed quiet until Rice added two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning after a two-run shot to right-centerfield. 

FAU responded with two runs of its own in the top of the sixth. Sophomore left-fielder Dylan Goldstein singled to start the inning, and DeBose drove him in with a double. Rincones Jr. hit an RBI single to bring home DeBose and regain a three-run lead for FAU. 

With a 6-3 lead in the seventh, FAU saw a new pitcher. That did not prevent them from adding another run and increasing their lead to 7-3. Redshirt sophomore second baseman Steven Loden singled, senior pinch hitter Shane Magrann walked, and Goldstein was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Pendleton reached on a fielder’s choice and Loden scored. 

FAU scored its final two runs of the night in the eighth inning. DeBose walked to open the frame, Albert doubled, and Rincones Jr. grounded out to combine for the first run. Schanuel grounded out in the next at-bat to bring home Albert and make it a 9-3 lead.

Rice tried to rally in the bottom half but scored just one run after a double and a single, leaving the score at 9-4.

Senior left-hander Hunter Cooley had a solid performance for FAU. He threw 115 pitches across 7 ⅓ innings, earning four runs on eight hits and a walk. Cooley also struck out five batters. 

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

Game 2 (Saturday, April 2): FAU 6, Rice 5

FAU’s baseball team defeated the Rice University Owls 6-5 on Saturday evening behind an overall offensive effort. 

Sophomore right-fielder Gabriel Rincones Jr. got the Owls out to an early lead after hitting a home run in the first inning. 

In the second inning, redshirt sophomore second baseman Steven Loden scored on an error and Rincones Jr. walked in a run to give the Owls a 3-0 lead. 

The Owls cruised behind sophomore right-handed pitcher Tibur Rivero’s flawless three innings when things got a little rocky. Rivero gave up a three-run home run in the fourth inning and was quickly pulled from the game. 

Junior left-hander Evan Waterbor came on to relieve Rivero, allowing one run and walking three batters. Junior third baseman Jackson Ross doubled to drive in a run in the top of the fifth inning to give the Owls a 4-3 lead. 

Rice followed up in the bottom of the fifth with a run of their own to tie the game. 

Ross scored on a wild pitch in the seventh, which Rice answered with a home run. 

Graduate designated hitter Tyler Kelder gave the Owls a 6-5 lead in the eighth inning with a solo home run.

Sophomore right-handed reliever Robert Wegielnik sealed the game for the Owls in the ninth inning for his third save of the season. 

Ross had a solid performance at the plate going three-for-5. Rincones Jr. is now tied for the most home runs on the team alongside sophomore third baseman Nolan Schanuel with eight each.

Kevin Garcia is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email him @[email protected], or tweet him @kevingar658.

Game 3 (Sunday, April 3): FAU 7, Rice 1

FAU swept Rice University in the weekend series, finishing in style with a 7-1 win.

The Owls started the game slowly with a 1-0 deficit in the first inning. Sophomore Jack Rideal scored a run from second base after senior Austin Bulman doubled down left field. 

In the third inning, sophomore center-fielder Jalen DeBose equalized the score off a wild pitch from junior left-handed pitcher Brandon Deskins.

FAU kept the momentum going in the fourth inning with a solo home run by sophomore catcher Caleb Pendleton, followed by a run from sophomore shortstop Armando Albert from second base after a single hit by sophomore right-fielder Gabriel Rincones Jr, bringing the lead to 3-1.

The Owls kept the pressure on Rice as they scored four more runs in the sixth inning from DeBose, Albert, Pendleton, and Rincones Jr, extending their lead further to 7-1. 

Rice’s four pitchers allowed a total of seven runs on eight hits, and the defense was charged with seven errors. They were unable to capitalize on their opportunities and were in complete shambles on the defensive end.

FAU finished its solid performance with eight hits, six RBIs, and one home run.

The Owls head back home to face the University of Central Florida (UCF) Knights on Tuesday, April 5, at 6:30 p.m. The game 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.