FAU Baseball: Owls fall in quarterfinal round of C-USA Tournament

The Owls scored 15 runs but allowed 12 in three games.


Courtesy of FAU Athletics

Armando Albert prepares to catch a groundball in the Conference USA Tournament.

The FAU baseball team traveled to Hattiesburg, Miss. for the Conference USA Tournament. They went 1-2 in the three games they played, falling in the quarterfinals.

Game 1 (Thursday, May 26): UTSA 6, FAU 4

FAU’s defensive mishaps proved costly after dropping the tournament opener 6-4 against UTSA Thursday afternoon in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Senior left-handed pitcher Hunter Cooley got the start on the mound for the Owls. He came into the matchup with an 8-4 record with 79 strikeouts. In his last outing against UTSA, he posted his season-high in strikeouts with 10. 

FAU started the scoring early with back-to-back walks from sophomore shortstop Armando Albert and sophomore right-fielder Gabriel Rincones Jr., followed by an RBI single from sophomore left-fielder Dylan Goldstein.  A sac fly from junior third baseman Jackson Ross scored Rincones Jr. from third making the score 2-0. 

In the top of the second, the Roadrunners threatened after loading the bases on two singles and a hit by pitch. After Cooley struck out the next two batters, a fielding error allowed for an unearned run to cross the plate, making the score 2-1.

In the top of the fourth inning, UTSA tacked on another run via a solo homer from senior right fielder Chase Keng tying the game up at two apiece. 

In the bottom of the fifth, the Owls responded with a solo home run of their own coming from senior second baseman Shane Magrann to right-center field, his fifth of the year. 

The following inning, the Roadrunners secured their first lead from back-to-back singles and a fly ball which advanced the runner to third. Another single scored a run from third, and an infield single allowed the runner from second to score after a throwing error. 

The sixth inning marked the end of the day for Cooley, who threw 101 pitches and seven strikeouts but conceded four runs (two earned) and 10 hits. Freshman left-hander Max Martzolf took his place on the mound. 

Sophomore first baseman Nolan Schanuel evened things back up in the bottom of the sixth with a solo homer to right-center field, his 15th overall. 

UTSA took the lead in the eighth after a double, a single and a hit by pitch loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly from freshman Matt King drove the first run across, followed by an RBI single from senior Jonathan Tapia making the game 6-4.

Martzolf’s day ended in the eighth after posting 1 ⅔  innings in relief, allowing two hits on three runs before turning the ball over to sophomore left-hander Sam Drumheller. 

Drumheller finished the game with 1 ⅓  innings pitched, allowing only one walk and no hits. 

The Roadrunners pulled off the win following a remarkable relief pitching performance from redshirt junior pitcher Luke Malone, who played the entire game posting a line of six hits, two earned runs, and four strikeouts. 

Zachary Watts is a staff writer for the University Press. For more information regarding this or other stories email [email protected] or tweet him at @ZachWatts1_.

 Game 2 (Thursday, May 26): FAU 11, UAB 1 (seven innings) 

The Owls made easy work of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Blazers on Thursday evening after putting up seven runs before the fifth inning and never looking back. 

Graduate right-handed pitcher Tyler Burnham drew the start as he pitched six innings, allowing one run with eight strikeouts. 

With the bases loaded, junior designated-hitter Mitchell Hartigan drove a bases-clearing double to center field, scoring three FAU runners in the first. 

Sophomore right-fielder Gabriel Rincones Jr. launched a three-run home run to center field in the fourth, increasing the Owls’ lead to 6-0.

Sophomore first baseman Nolan Schanuel rocketed a solo home run in the very next at bat. The Owls led 7-0 after four innings. 

Burnham surrendered an earned run,  the Blazer’s only run of the game, in the top of the fifth after a sacrifice fly scored a runner. 

Schanuel worked a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the fifth to increase the Owls’ lead to 8-1. Sophomore shortstop Armando Albert scored on a throwing error following a single from Rincones Jr. 

The Owls kept pouring it on in the seventh as sophomore left-fielder Dylan Goldstein doubled home two runners to finish the evening. The game resulted in a mercy rule and ended since the Owls were up by 10 runs at the end of the seventh inning, per NCAA regulations. 

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 (Friday, May 27): Southern Miss 5, FAU 0

The Owls saw their 2022 season come to a close with the 5-0 loss to the University of Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles Friday night. 

The game started slow for both squads, with the first run of the game not being plated until the bottom of the seventh inning. 

Senior right-hander Jacob Josey got the start for FAU and held the Golden Eagles scoreless through six innings before allowing one earned runs in the seventh. Sophomore catcher Rodrigo Montenegro knocked an RBI single up the middle, prompting sophomore right-hander Robert Wegielnik to be called out of the bullpen. In 6 ⅔ innings pitched, Josey threw 87 pitches allowing five hits and four walks. 

With the bases loaded, Wegielnik walked the first batter he faced, scoring the runner from third to put the Golden Eagles ahead 2-0. Wegielnik only lasted a single batter as sophomore left-hander Sam Drumheller replaced him on the mound following the walk. 

The Golden Eagles tacked on three more runs in the bottom of the seventh to extend their lead to five. Junior third baseman Danny Lynch hit an RBI double into right field scoring the runner from third, followed by freshman right-fielder Carson Paetow knocking a double for two RBIs into center field, pushing their lead to 5-0. 

With their season on the line, the Owls once again failed to plate any runs in the ninth, securing the shutout victory for Southern Mississippi and ending FAU’s 2022 season. 

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