SERIES THREAD: #16 FAU vs Marshall - Apr 15th - 17th, 2016
Who: No. 16 Florida Atlantic (23-7) at Marshall (17-13)
Friday 4/15 @ 6:00 PM
FAU: RHP Marc Stewart (5-0, 2.15 ERA, 46 IP, 36 H, 28 K, 15 BB)
MAR: RHP Chase Boster (2-2, 5.36 ERA, 47 IP, 48 H, 38 K, 10 BB)
Saturday 4/16 @ 4:00 PM
FAU: LHP Brandon Rhodes (4-3, 5.18 ERA, 48.2 IP, 52 H, 25 K, 6 BB)
MAR: LHP Parker Danciu (2-2, 5.84 ERA, 44.2 IP, 57 H, 21 K, 15 BB)
Sunday 4/17 @ 12:00 PM
FAU: LHP Sean Labsan (4-0, 0.67 ERA, 27 IP, 19 H, 27 K, 8 BB)
Florida Atlantic heads into Beckley, WV in a tie with Rice for second place in the Conference USA league standings.
The Owls suffered their first series loss of the season last weekend, which was marked by a 15 inning 7-6 marathon loss - the longest game in program history. CJ Chatham was the bright spot for the series, with an incredible 5-of-6, 7 RBI, Grad Slam performance at the plate in FAU's lone 17-8 win in game two.
Things didn't get much better with FAU after making the short trek across I-75 to The Eagles Nest at Florida Gulf Coast. There, the team endured its third extra frame affair in the last five games and came up short 3-2 in 11 innings.
Three of the Owls' seven losses on the season have come on a Friday night, and Coach John McCormack is looking to change that pattern by once again shuffling the rotation. Marc Stewart (pictured above) will move into the opening slot over Brandon Rhodes, with Rhodes taking the mound on Saturday instead.
FAU has four starters hitting at least .300 with a team average of .299 and an on-base percentage of .397. Florida Atlantic pitchers have allowed a league-low 79 walks in 276 innings pitched.
The Thundering Herd won its third consecutive Conference USA series, taking two-of-three at UTSA over the weekend. Marshall now sits alone in fourth place in the league standings at 7-5 and are 17-13 overall.
The Herd's 17-13 record is the team's best 30-game start since the 2001 team also went 17-13. Junior RHP Burris Warner was a key part of the Marshall’s success at UTSA this past weekend with one save and a win.
On Friday, he came into the ballgame with the bases loaded and no outs and struck out the side in the eighth and gained a save. On Sunday, Warner went three innings in relief after a lightning delay. He allowed just one run on three hits in the outing, and earned his first win at Marshall. Warner is tied for first in saves with eight in Conference USA.
Sophomore 3B Tyler Ratliff extended his hitting streak to eight games over the weekend, while senior 2B Aaron Bossi and senior OF DJ Gee have each hit safely in seven-straight outings.
Although a little cooler, weather for the weekend will closely resemble last weekend with no chance of rain and plenty of sunshine.
Danciu started the game in which Marshall beat Southern Miss, going 7 IP allowing 6 H, 3 R (all earned) 1 BB and 3 K. He went deep into the game, 8.1 IP, at UTSA last weekend, allowing 8 H, 5 R (all earned) 3 BB and 3 K.
When you take out the 3 weekend starters to get an estimate of Marshall's pen ERA, it comes to 4.56. If Hammer isn't starting for the Herd on Sunday, I'm guessing it will be Shapiro who has 5 mid-week starts.
I would like to see some more deep counts. In our last few games, are are only taking a pitcher in excess of 15 pitches/inning just over 50% of the time. Until then, we'd been up around 75%. When Capps came in relief Sunday, he tossed only 82 pitches over the last 7.1 innings. and was 10 or under in 3 of th 7 full innings pitched. That indicated we were going after his pitch, not our pitch. Then we did the same at FGCU, resulting in a stretch of 15 innings (the 9-15 on Sunday and 1 - 8 on Tuesday) in which we only scored one run. During that 15 IP stretch, we averaged only 13.3 pitches per inning (81 in 7 IP Sunday, 116 in 8 IP Tuesday). During that stretch, we had only 3 BB (1.8 per 9 IP) to go with 10 K - way off our normal ratio of 5.13 BB/9 IP, and that 3.33 K/BB is way off our ratio of 1.29 K/BB outside that 15 IP stretch. It should be noted, though, that Capps had a remarkable 71% strikes, 2-strike counts on 11 of 23 batters he faced (Ks on 6 of those) and we had only 3 swings and misses on him - that would seem to indicate that we we forced to swing at his pitch. Then again, of the 23 he faced, we went 0-5 against him swinging at the 1st pitch. That is a strong indicator we were not forced to go after his pitch.
We need to, and will, settle down and get back to playing FAU baseball. And then the other guys better look out - that Owl's got teeth.