Baseball: Owls swept on the road by Western Kentucky

The Owls lost all three games of a weekend series against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers.


Erika Fletcher

Junior shortstop Armando Albert running out of the batter’s box against Rice University on March 3, 2023.

FAU Baseball (23-16, 7-9 C-USA) took on the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers (20-19, 5-11 C-USA) in a three-game series this past weekend and lost straight. The series opener on Friday was postponed due to weather delays, setting up a doubleheader on Saturday. The Owls lost both games on Saturday, before falling again in the series finale on Sunday afternoon.

Game 1 (April 22, 2 p.m.): WKU 6, FAU 4

The Owls fell behind to start the falling to the Hilltoppers 6-4 in the first game of the series. Thanks to an error committed by Hilltoppers’ graduate shortstop Drew Reckart, senior first baseman Nolan Schanuel scored the first run of the game after reaching base on a single.

WKU responded with a run of their own in the bottom of the second when FAU junior right-hander CJ Williams also made a throwing error, allowing a runner to score to tie the game 1-1.

Junior outfielder Jalen DeBose continued a productive stretch of games with a solo home run in the top of the fifth inning to give the Owls the lead again. Later on in the inning, Schanuel hit a triple, sending senior infielder Jackson Ross to home to put the Owls up 3-1 in the middle of the fifth inning.

After a scoreless sixth inning, in the top of the seventh, junior outfielder Dylan Goldstein hit a sacrifice ground ball, allowing junior infielder Armando Albert to score for the Owls, extending their lead up by three runs. 

In the bottom half of the inning though, the Owls fell apart on defense. With the bases loaded, graduate left-hander Hunter Cooley walked Reckart,scoring a run for the Hilltoppers. Following a throwing error by junior left-hander Sam Drumheller, who came in for Cooley, two runners came across for Western Kentucky to tie the game 4-4. 

Just after that error, Recakrt stole home, giving the Hilltoppers their first lead of the series. 

In the bottom of the eighth inning, Hilltoppers’ freshman first baseman Lukas Farris hit a solo home run to extend the Hilltoppers lead by two runs.

 Game 2 (April 22, 5 p.m.): WKU 9, FAU 8

After a slow start on offense by both teams, the Owls scored first in the top of the third inning. Albert hit a single, which sent DeBose home plate to give the Owls the early lead. Following that, Schanuel hit a triple sparking a rally that by the end left the  Owls ahead by five runs.

To start the bottom of the third inning for the Hilltoppers, senior catcher Ricardo Leonett hit a solo home run to put Western Kentucky on the board. 

In the top of the fifth, FAU plated two more on a fielder’s choice hit by graduate DH Andrew Hernandezting them ahead 7-1 and an RBI single hit by Schroeder, put. 

In the bottom of the sixth inning, an RBI double scored three runs for WKU, tightening FAU’s lead by three runs. Later in the inning, a throwing error by junior catcher Caleb Pendleton scored another, leaving Western Kentucky down two runs in the bottom of the seventh inning.

In the top of the eighth inning, senior third baseman Jackson Ross hit a sacrifice fly, scoring one to put the Owls back up by three runs. However in the bottom half, the Hilltoppers slimmed that lead to one, after scoring two.

Down by one in the ninth, an error from shortstop junior Armando Albert scored a run for the Hilltoppers, tying the game to send things to extra innings. 

The Owls’ and Hilltoppers’ defenses held strong until the bottom of the fourteenth inning, when Hilltoppers sophomore infielder AJ Fiechter scored the game-ending run on the Owls’ fourth error of the game to secure the series victory. 

Maddox Greenberg is the Business Manager for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or DM via Facebook @maddox greenberg

Game 3 (Sunday, April 23): WKU 4, FAU 2 

Western Kentucky swept the series on Sunday, taking down the Owls 4-2 after taking both games in the double header on Saturday. 

Junior right-hander Nicholas Del Prado got the start for FAU and was looking to build upon a victory against the University of Miami less than a week earlier, but quickly found himself in a jam in the bottom of the first. 

A base hit and walk put runners on first and second, before a single from Hilltoppers junior second baseman Tristin Garcia scored the runner from second marking the first run of the afternoon.

Del Prado again found himself with runners on first and second base in the fourth, marking the end of his outing as junior southpaw Sam Drumheller was called out of the bullpen. On the first batter Drumheller faced, a fielding error let one run score giving the Hilltoppers a 2-0 lead.

In the fifth, Western Kentucky took a 4-run lead, the largest of the night, after redshirt junior right-hander Brandon Smith took over for Drumheller and allowed a 2-run rally on three hits.

The Hilltoppers’ three pitchers, including freshman right-hander Dawson Hall who got the start, collectively shut down FAU, holding them scoreless and to just four hits through eight innings. 

In the top of the ninth, FAU finally got on the scoreboard with a pair of runs. Schanuel led off with a single, and Goldstein doubled on the next at bat putting runners on second and third. Hartigan and Schroeder both sacrificed themselves with ground outs scoring one run each, before Pendleton flew out, ending the game and a winless road trip for the Owls. 

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