FAU Baseball: Owls sweep Monmouth in three-game series

FAU tallied six home runs over the three-game weekend series to start the new season 3-0.


Jaden Wiston

Photo of graduate right hander Hunter Cooley, who was named to the 2023 C-USA All-Conference Preseason Team.

Cameron Priester, Sports Editor

FAU baseball (3-0) began the 2023 campaign by sweeping the Monmouth University Hawks (0-3) in a three-game weekend series.

Game 1 (Friday, Feb. 17): FAU 6, Monmouth 2

FAU got the series started on the right foot, cruising past the Hawks 6-2 off the back of a solid outing by graduate left-hander Hunter Cooley, who got the Opening Day start.

“It’s good to get the first one out of the way, especially in the win column,” said head coach John McCormack. “I thought the pitching was very good, we turned two double plays. Offensively, we just need to do a little bit better and try to take our time.” 

While Cooley kept Monmouth scoreless for the first six innings, the Owls got things started early, scoring their first run in the bottom of the first inning. Junior shortstop Armando Albert got hit by a pitch in the leadoff slot, before plating the first run on a sacrifice fly by senior third baseman Jackson Ross.

The Owls added two more runs in the bottom of the third. Junior first baseman Nolan Schanuel singled and stole second, before scoring on a double hit by junior right fielder Dylan Goldstein. Goldstein scored on a fielder’s choice and the Owls plated another on a throwing error leaving them ahead 4-0. 

Monmouth finally got on the board in the seventh with two runs off the bat of a pair of RBI singles, prompting sophomore left-hander Max Martzolf to be called out of the bullpen for the Owls. 

In 6 1/3 innings pitched, Cooley, who was named to the C-USA All-Conference Preseason Team alongside Schanuel, allowed two runs on six hits in his first start of the new campaign. 

“I thought he did fine,” noted McCormack on Cooley’s five-strikeout performance. “The pitch that he threw where the guy hit the home run was actually a really good pitch. The guy did a really good job of turning on it.”  

FAU plated two more runs in the eighth. Junior second baseman Christian Adams was hit by a pitch, while Albert and Schanuel both drew walks, loading the bases. An RBI double by Goldstein, his third hit of the night, scored Adams and Albert. 

Junior right-hander C.J. Williams took the mound for the Owls in the bottom of the ninth after Martzolf shutout the Hawks in his 1 2/3 innings pitched. Williams also kept the Hawks scoreless in the bottom of the ninth to maintain the four run opening day victory for the Owls. 

“There are times when you have to let the game come to you, and we didn’t do that,” said McCormack. “We were trying to run the game over a little bit. But it’s over, and we’ll get a chance to calm down and get back at it tomorrow.” 

Game 2 (Saturday, Feb. 18): FAU 14, Monmouth 8

Sophomore catcher John Schroeder’s three base hits led the way for FAU as they secured the series victory on Saturday night with a 14-8 victory that saw five home runs between both teams. 

Senior designated hitter Mitchell Hartigan knocked the first of those five in the second inning, which sparked a four-hit rally that left the Owls with an early 4-run lead.

Monmouth plated a run in both the third and fourth innings. However, 4-runs in the third by the Owls, which was capped by an RBI double hit by Schroeder, kept them firmly in the lead. 

Redshirt junior right-hander Jacob Josey saw his first start of the season come to a close in the fourth after conceding the second of the two earned runs he allowed. Sophomore right-hander Marc DeGusipe took over for Josey at the start of the fifth.

In the bottom of the fifth the Owls bats came alive as they rallied for eight runs to take a commanding 12-run lead. Senior third baseman Jackson Ross sparked the rally with a solo homer to right field, and it concluded with an RBI double hit by junior center fielder Spencer Rich which made it a 7-hit inning for FAU.

The Hawks attempted to topple FAU’s lead with a 6-run, 4-hit inning in the bottom of the seventh where they knocked two homers. All six runs were credited to sophomore righty Dawson Ball, who took over on the mound for senior southpaw Evan Waterbor after the sixth. 

Even a six run rally wasn’t enough to comeback from the Owls’ once 12-run lead, as junior left-hander Sam Drumheller shut out the Hawks in the eighth and ninth to secure the series victory for FAU.

Game 3 (Sunday, Feb. 19): FAU 17, Monmouth 2

FAU swept the series with a dominant 17-2 victory on Sunday afternoon in which four Owls recorded three or more hits. 

After a scoreless first inning, FAU plated 3-runs in the bottom of the second inning. Junior center fielder Spencer Rich led off the inning with a triple, and later scored on a double hit by junior first baseman Christian Adams. Freshman second baseman Lucas Phelps and junior left fielder Dylan Goldstein both singled plating two more. 

The Owls jumped out to an 8-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a 5-run, 6-hit rally in which all runs came across on RBI singles.

Despite throwing four scoreless innings, junior right-hander Nicholas Del Prado, who got the start for FAU, was pulled at the start of the fifth. Redshirt junior right-hander Brandon Smith took over and allowed a single run. 

FAU’s bats went right back to work in the bottom of the fifth, plating five more runs to go ahead by 12. Junior Nolan Schanuel, who played in right field Sunday, scored two on his first home run of the year, before Adams knocked a three-run homer of his own over the right field wall.

Monmouth scored a single run in the top of the sixth, but Goldstein answered back in the bottom half with a three-run blast that put them ahead by 14.

In the final three innings three different pitchers threw for FAU—all remained scoreless. Junior right-hander Braden Ostrander pitched the seventh, while redshirt junior right-hander threw the eighth. Freshman right-hander Tyler Murphy, who took the mound in the ninth, stayed clean in his college debut to seal the 15-run victory, and series sweep for the Owls.

The Owls will now travel to Orlando to take on the University of Central Florida Knights (3-0) on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m.

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