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Article on Baseball

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Pitching leading Blue Wave

Published Tuesday, May 24, 2005
by Cory Jennerjohn

It has often been said that pitching wins championships. Starting pitching will be the diet for the Florida Atlantic University baseball team as they prepare to digest their eighth straight Atlantic Sun conference tournament.

The Blue Wave takes on Georgia State tomorrow at 3 p.m. from DeLand, Fla. in first round action.

One of the main reasons FAU roared to a strong finish by winning 6 of 7 games to claim the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament has been the steady play of the surprisingly mature freshman pitcher Mickey Storey.

?First of all, I didn?t think I would get enough chance to succeed like this,? said Storey. ?I thought I would get more time in the bullpen. I didn?t think I would jump in the rotation as soon as I did.?<br>
There is no question that Storey is succeeding. The shy pitcher at the start of the season has emerged from his cocoon to the tune of an 8-1 record and a 1.98 ERA in 77 1/3 innings ? all team-highs.

?I had one thing on my mind to start as soon as I could and be the man as soon as I could,? said Storey. ?I wanted to the number one guy as soon as possible.?<br>
But this hasn?t been a season full of smiles for the Blue Wave, as they have experienced the complete range of emotions. FAU swept Gardner-Webb in mid-March, but didn?t claim a conference series until sweeping Lipscomb a month later.

But it hasn?t been all pitching for the Blue Wave, who is batting .305 as a team and has pounded out 12 double-digit run totals this season.

?Tyler?s (Stevens) come in and hit great, who?s hitting .400 for us,? said FAU baseball coach Kevin Cooney. ?He?s really filled in. He gave us a lot of offense when we weren?t getting much.?<br>
Stevens filled in for Derek Hutton, who has been struggling at the plate with a .187 average. However, with three hits this weekend, he has earned second base back.

?It was high tide and it was low tide for him, and now it?s kind of in between for him,? said Cooney. ?He just knows, ?I?ve got a few games left and I?m swinging the bat better.? He never really gave up.?<br>
Stevens was slated to be the designated hitter for the conference tournament, but won?t be in the lineup due to a torn hamstring he suffered last weekend at Georgia State.

The pitching staff was also dealt a punishing blow. Brandon Kloess felt something scraping in his throwing elbow last weekend.

That scraping turned out to be a torn UCL, and the sophomore pitcher will ultimately need Tommy John surgery.

?It?s not good news for us,? said Cooney. ?There?s a good chance he?ll be out all next season too.?<br>
FAU will need to advance to the championship game to get consideration for the NCAA tournament as one of the 32 at-large berths.

FAU is trying to advance to the NCAA tournament for the fourth straight year.
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