Baseball: Owls stunned in first playoff game to WKU

After blowing a late comeback, the Owls now face Rice to keep season hopes alive.


Erika Fletcher

Mitchell Hartigan (#24) swings from home plate.

Jahsheem Benjamin, Staff Writer

The Florida Atlantic Owls  (33-24,16-14 C-USA) were stunned by a late comeback from Western Kentucky University (WKU) Hilltoppers (32-24,16-14 C-USA) in the first round of the Conference USA tournament.

In the bottom of the first inning, WKU scored first with an RBI double down the line and a double play that would score another.

FAU would bounce back in the top of the third with the help of a two-run bomb by junior first baseman Nolan Schanuel. WKU would strike back in the bottom of the third with an RBI single.

After the Hilltoppers took control of the game again, the Owls struck back in the top of the fourth with the help of a two-run single by junior shortstop Armando Albert. The Owls would receive another run via wild pitch to make it a 5-3 ballgame.

In the top of the fifth, senior outfielder Mitchell Hartigan connected with a solo shot. Two innings later, senior outfielder Spencer Rich would tally three more runs with a thunderous swing helping FAU increase their large margin to 9-3.

The turning point of the game would be the huge firepower of Western Kentucky hits as the Hilltoppers tied the game 9-9 with a huge six-run inning. 

Even though Florida Atlantic blew a large lead, they still managed to escape the inning with an opportunity to score and win the game. 

Going into the bottom of the ninth, the Hilltoppers would hit three singles in a row to load the bases. Two batters later, WKU would deliver with a single down the middle to walk-off in fashion.

Despite the devastating loss, the Owls will play 8-seed Rice University Owls (21-36, 9-21 C-USA) in a must-win elimination game Thursday May 25th. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+ at 5 pm.

Jahsheem Benjamin is a staff writer at the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected] or tweet him @JBenzzofficial