GAME THREAD: #24 FAU vs #16 Miami - 02/19/14 @ 6:00 PM
What: Florida Atlantic (2-1) vs Miami (2-1)
When: Wednesday, Feb. 19th at 6:00 PM
Where: Mark Light Field
Miami owns a 53-11 all-time mark against FAU, and has won five of the last six meetings between the two schools. The Owls were able to beat the ‘Canes last season at Mark Light Field behind a three-run homerun from Robbie Buckley, but dropped the other two meetings in the mid-week series by a combined margin of just three runs.
FAU - LHP Brandon Rhodes (3-2, 4.19 ERA)*
Miami - RHP Javi Salas (5-5, 3.18 ERA)*
Fresh off an opening weekend series win over Notre Dame, FAU travels to Coral Gables on Wednesday to face a nationally ranked opponent in Miami. The last time the Owls took the diamond against a ranked foe, it was a bout with No. 1 North Carolina in the Chapel Hill Regional.
While FAU eventually fell to UNC in extra-innings in game two of the winner-take-all series, the David vs. Goliath matchup thrusted the program into the national spotlight.
The Owls are currently ranked No. 24 in the country according to Perfect Game USA’s Top-25 poll, but the first real test of the season will come against a Miami squad (No. 16 in Baseball America Top-25 poll) that was picked to finish in the better half of the Atlantic Coast Conference.
FAU coach John McCormack will send sophomore pitcher Brandon Rhodes to the mound, in hopes of giving his team a chance to secure an early season tournament-resume-boasting win.
Rhodes picked up a win against Miami last season, tossing 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball. The lefty finished the year with a 3-2 record, but missed a chunk of the season with an arm injury. He’s expected to be at full strength on Wednesday, which is a good news for the Owls.
Miami bolsters a lineup that can put the ball in play all over the park. Sophomore third baseman David Thompson led the ‘Canes with six home runs and 46 RBIs last season. Thompson had two doubles and an RBI in Miami’s opening series win against Maine.
Senior catcher Levi Meyer will look to continue his hot start to the season after being named Conference USA’s Player of the Week by College Sports Madness for his efforts against Notre Dame. Meyer (pictured, right) was 8-for-11 with 7 RBIs, three runs scored and two walks. He also managed his first career triple.
Miami will counter with senior right-hander Javi Salas, who was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 38th round of 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. He started last season in the weekend rotation before shifting to the bullpen.