FAU Baseball: Owls win two out of three against FIU

The Owls outscored the Panthers 22-12 in three games.


Jaden Wiston

Photo of sophomore first baseman Nolan Schanuel smiling during Friday’s victory.

The FAU Owls baseball team (28-17, 13-8 C-USA) took two of three games from the Florida International University (FIU) Panthers (13-28, 5-16 C-USA) over the weekend at FAU Baseball Stadium in Boca Raton, Fla. 

Game 1 (Friday, April 29): FAU 7, FIU 1

Despite the rain, FAU soared on Friday night with a 7-1 victory over the Panthers.

“We haven’t had to fight [the rain]. It’s been a really good spring,” head coach John McCormack said. “This is only the second time we’ve had the tarp out; even on the road, we haven’t had any issues with weather.” 

Senior left-hander Hunter Cooley took the mound to start the game and gave up an early blemish in the first inning. Sophomore center-fielder Alec Sanchez fired a homer to right-center field on the ninth pitch of the at-bat.

The Owls’ bats stayed quiet until the third inning when they notched the game at one apiece. Sophomore center-fielder Jalen DeBose smacked a double into left-center field and advanced to third after a fielder’s choice. Sophomore first baseman Nolan Schanuel sent DeBose home with a single up the middle.

FAU gained more traction in the fifth inning, adding a pair of runs. Sophomore shortstop Armando Albert singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch, sophomore right-fielder Gabriel Rincones Jr. walked, and sophomore left-fielder Dylan Goldstein walked to load the bases with two outs. Junior third baseman Jackson Ross and redshirt sophomore Steven Loden each walked to make the score 3-1.

“Guys didn’t give in or swing at a bad pitch, they kept their composure, and had really good at-bats,” McCormack said. “That gave us a little bit of a lead.”

DeBose, Albert, and Rincones Jr. combined for another run in the sixth inning. DeBose walked and stole second and Albert walked on a passed ball, and Rincones Jr. singled to make it a 4-1 game.

Goldstein blew the game open with a leadoff homer to right field in the seventh inning. Before the inning ended, the Owls plated another run. Ross reached on the only error of the game from either side, Loden walked, graduate designated hitter Tyler Kelder flew out but the runners advanced, and DeBose beat the throw for an infield single. 

“The [at-bat] that I liked the most was Jalen DeBose, with two strikes, chopped the ball in the infield and beat it out,” McCormack said. “We’ve been trying to get him to use his legs more and that’s a perfect example of how he can be very disruptive in a game because of his physical ability.” 

FAU scored once more in the eighth inning to make it a 7-1 lead via a walk from Goldstein and a double from Ross. 

Cooley threw a complete game for FAU. He threw 117 pitches and yielded just one run on five hits and a walk.

“He really knows how to compete… And really knows how to make adjustments,” McCormack said. “He has great awareness of himself, which sometimes is hard to find these days, but he is able to put [runs] behind him and move on.”

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 30): FIU 6, FAU 4

Redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Jacob Josey started things off on the mound for FAU. Josey picked up two strikeouts while allowing three runs (two earned) on two walks, a pair of doubles, and a fielding error in the first inning. 

FAU kicked off the bottom half of the first with a walk from sophomore shortstop Armando Albert, and sophomore right-fielder Gabriel Rincones Jr. followed with his 15th home run of the season to make it a 3-2 game.

The Panthers’ offense opened things up in the top of the fourth with four consecutive singles, leading to two runs that upped their lead to 5-2. 

The Owls made a pitching change in the fifth, bringing in sophomore left-handed pitcher Sam Drumheller. In four innings, Josey struck out three batters but allowed six hits.

Rincones Jr. stayed hot at the plate in the bottom of the sixth with his second home run of the day, shortening FIU’s lead to 5-3. He made sure to leave his mark on the game as he sent another homer over the right-center field wall, making it a 5-4 game in the bottom of the eighth. 

Redshirt sophomore right-hander Robert Wegielnik came in relief of Drumheller in the final frame. Drumheller went four innings and yielded only one hit and two strikeouts. FIU led off the inning with a single and hit-by-pitch, which called for a sacrifice bunt to move both runners into scoring position. An intentional walk loaded the bases and a sacrifice fly brought home a run for FIU, stretching the lead to 6-4. 

FAU battled to the end, leading off the bottom of the inning with back-to-back singles. However, the Owls failed to capitalize on the opportunity and the Panthers closed the game with the final score remaining at 6-4. 

Despite the loss, head coach John McCormack had positive insight into his team’s performance. 

“Rincones tried to put the team on his back and Drumheller out of the pen putting up zeros for four innings, but the offense couldn’t get it done today,” McCormack said. 

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

Game 3 (Sunday, May 1): FAU 11, FIU 5

FAU’s second-to-last home series concluded on Sunday afternoon with a convincing 11-5 victory against FIU.

With the win, FAU has won five straight series against FIU. FAU has beat the Panthers in each series since.

“We did what we needed to do,” head coach John McCormack said. “I don’t think we’re completely where we need to be offensively, back where we were in the beginning of the year, but it’s not as easy as I think sometimes.”

The Panthers began the first inning with redshirt junior infielder Jorge Ramirez hitting a sac fly to drive home sophomore infielder Adrian Figueroa. Despite this, the Owls quickly equalized as sophomore first baseman Nolan Schanuel batted an RBI single to right field that drove sophomore shortstop Armando Albert to home plate.

In the bottom of the second, FAU got another run. FIU’s redshirt senior right-handed pitcher Christian Santana threw a wild pitch as it allowed redshirt sophomore infielder Steven Loden, who was on third base, to dash to home plate.

After a scoreless third inning, the Owls scored a run in the fourth inning. Sophomore right-fielder Gabriel Rincones Jr. reached on a fielder’s choice as a throwing error from the Panthers granted senior catcher Nicholas Toney the opportunity to get an unearned run for FAU.

FAU added two runs in the bottom of the fifth. Junior infielder Jackson Ross fired a triple to left-center field to get sophomore left-fielder Dylan Goldstein home, while graduate outfielder Tyler Kelder hit a single to left field as he brought Ross to home plate.

After playing great throughout five innings, graduate left-handed pitcher Tyler Burnham came off the mound as redshirt sophomore left-hander Marc DeGusipe checked in. Burnham finished with 90 pitches, eight flyouts, six strikeouts, and one groundout.

The Panthers snapped out of their offensive drought to start the sixth inning. Ramirez launched a home run to left field and redshirt sophomore outfielder Ruben Carpio reached on a fielder’s choice to drive in sophomore infielder Noel Perez.

Despite FIU’s efforts to cut the deficit, FAU responded with five runs in the bottom of the sixth. Schanuel hit an RBI single to center field, Goldstein got a sac fly to bring Rincones Jr. home, freshman outfielder Jake Millan got two RBIs following a single, and Toney topped it off with a single to right field. The Owls led 10-3 once the inning concluded.

DeGusipe subbed off after one inning for freshman left-hander Max Martzolf to step in. DeGusipe threw 15 pitches and had two groundouts.

The Panthers got back-to-back runs in the top of the eighth. Sophomore infielder Steven Ondina hit a sac fly to drive Perez home and Figueroa had an RBI single to center field, reducing FAU’s lead to five. The Owls countered with a run in the bottom half, as Toney smashed a single to right field to bring home Loden.

“They’re good, they’re old, and they really play well at home in that brand new ballpark to get great fan support, so we’ll have to be ready,” McCormack concluded.

The Owls head out to Ruston, La., to take on the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs from May 6-8. The series will be broadcast on C-USA TV.

Richard Pereira is the Business Manager for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @Rich26Pereira.