Baseball: Owls drop two straight on the road to Florida

After losing three straight over the weekend, FAU traveled to Gainesville to be swept again by the Florida Gators in a two-game set.


Nicholas Windfelder

John Schroeder rounding third base against the USF Bulls on Feb. 24, 2023.

Cameron Priester, Sports Editor

FAU baseball (7-6) picked up their fifth consecutive defeat, after dropping back-to-back games to the #6 University of Florida Gators on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Since starting the 2023 campaign with an overall record of 7-1, the Owls have been swept in their last two series; First, to the University of Connecticut Huskies this past weekend, before losing two more on the road to the Gators.

Game 1 (Tuesday, March 7): Florida 18, FAU 11

Despite leading at multiple points, and a three home run outing by senior first baseman Nolan Schanuel, the Owls conceded game one to the Gators in a high-scoring affair on Tuesday night. 

“Tough loss tonight,” said head coach John McCormack following the 7-run defeat on Monday night. 

The first of Schanuel’s three homers came in the top of the first inning; a solo blast to right field to put the Owls ahead 1-0. That lead, however, was short-lived, as the Gators mounted a 6-run rally on three hits in the bottom half. 

In the third, FAU got to work trimming the Gators’ lead. Junior shortstop Armando Albert was hit by a pitch, and junior Dylan Goldstein singled, before Schanuel knocked a three-run blast over the center field fence. Owls’ starter, senior lefty Evan Waterbor, allowed a solo homer in the bottom that left the score at 7-4.

FAU jumped back out in front in the top of the fourth, thanks to a 4-hit inning worth 5 runs. Senior DH Mitchell Hartigan sparked the rally with a base hit, and ended with Goldstein scoring on a ground out to put the Owls ahead by two. Again, FAU’s lead didn’t last long as Florida plated three runs in the bottom half to take back the lead at 10-8.

The Owls’ struggles from the mound continued an inning later, conceding another three-run inning to the Gators in the bottom of the fifth.

After Schanuel’s third homer of the night moved the score to 13-10 in the top of the sixth, junior southpaw Sam Drumheller took the mound for FAU to start the bottom. 

Of the six pitchers that threw for FAU, Drumheller found the most success, holding the Gators scoreless through two complete innings. He was pulled to start the eighth for redshirt junior righty Sean Goodwin, who gave up 5 runs without recording an out, before also being pulled off for junior right-hander Braden Ostrander. 

The Owls added a single run in the top of the ninth. Senior third baseman Jackson Ross led off the inning with a solo homer, but two subsequent strikeouts and a pop up sealed the 7-run defeat for FAU.

We obviously have to pitch better and make plays to get us out of innings,” added McCormack. “We gave a good team too many opportunities.”

Game 2 (Wednesday, March 8): Florida 11, FAU 0

FAU’s woes on the mound from the night before carried over to Wednesday, but their bats went cold, as they were shutout 11-0 by the Gators, with the game being ended by mercy rule after the eighth inning.

The last time FAU was shutout by an opponent dates back to May 7, 2021, when they were held scoreless by former conference foe, Southern Mississippi University.

After keeping the Gators scoreless through the first two innings, Owls’ starter freshman right-hander Tyler Murphy’s night ended as sophomore left-hander Max Martzolf took the mound to start the third. 

Florida plated their first run of the game on an RBI single in the third, before adding three more an inning later, prompting redshirt junior southpaw Marc DeGusipe to take over for Martzolf.

In two complete innings pitched Martzolf allowed 4 runs, three earned, on 4 hits; however, his replacement didn’t fare much better. After taking over to start the fifth, DeGusipe gave up 3 runs on 3 hits, and his night only lasted a single inning as well. 

Already up seven runs, the Gators’ bats stayed hot in the eighth inning to put a cap on their stellar offensive performance. 

With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Florida’s sophomore DH Jac Caglianone knocked a grand slam over the right field fence. That homer put the Gators up 11-0, calling the 10-run mercy rule into effect to seal the Owls’ largest margin of defeat this season.

After five consecutive defeats, the Owls will be looking to recover on their home field with a four game weekend series against the Harvard University Crimson (1-7). The series is set to start on Friday, March 10 at 6 p.m. and will be broadcast by C-USA TV.

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