May 6, 2005
By Ted Hutton, Staff Writer
Boca Raton – Mickey Storey arrived at practice this week looking a bit disheveled in his tattered practice uniform, with a strategically placed safety pin keeping the fly to his pants closed.
It's hard to imagine this skinny 19-year-old freshman right-hander is Florida Atlantic's ace pitcher and will take the mound at 7 tonight at Atlanta to face Georgia Tech, the No. 6 team in the nation, but FAU coach Kevin Cooney warned not to be fooled by appearances.
"It he's not a freshman All-American, then I don't know what is," Cooney said about his 6-foot-1, 165-pound No. 1 starter from Deerfield Beach.
Storey, with a 2.08 ERA and seven saves, started the season as a closer and became the No. 1 starter April 15. He has responded with three straight wins, each the first game of a conference series when he is usually up against the opponent's best pitcher.
"I thought maybe later down the line I would be a starter," Storey said, "but I knew if I pitched well I would be granted a starting job. Now I just have to try and keep winning."
Georgia Tech (31-12) will make that tough, as the Yellow Jackets have a team batting average of .341 and have swept Florida State and won a series against Miami.
FAU (26-16) is coming off a series win against then No. 25 Central Florida, which gave the Owls confidence for the weekend three-game series.
"I can't wait," Storey said. "I want to see how I match up against a top-10 program, how I fare against some of the best hitters around."
That attitude is what Cooney said makes Storey so tough.
"He's a fierce and fearless competitor," Cooney said.
Storey has a good curveball that sets up his other pitches.
"His curveball is so good that once hitters see it, it is planted in their mind," Cooney said. Then, when they are focused on the curve, Storey has enough speed to slip a fastball by them, or use a splitter to fool them."
Storey's move from the bullpen was part of a wholesale change made by Cooney, who benched the three previous starters in mid-April. FAU has gone 7-3 since and is back in the hunt for a spot in the conference tournament and a regional appearance either by winning the tournament or getting an at-large bid.
Ted Hutton can be reached at [email protected]