SERIES THREAD: FAU @ North Florida - Feb 25-26, 2014
What: Florida Atlantic (5-2) at North Florida (4-2)
When: Tue, Feb 25 at 6:00 p.m.
Wed, Feb 26 at 3:00 p.m.
Where: Harmon Stadium
FAU and UNF are tied at 2-2 all-time. The Owls last took on the Ospreys in April of 2002, when FAU pitcher Joel Schmal and FAU's bullpen led the way to a 4-2 victory in Boca Raton.
Projected Starting Pitchers
Tue: FAU - LHP Sean Labsan (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
UNF - RHP Corbin Olmstead (0-1, 10.81 ERA)
Wed: FAU - RHP Jimmy Tornabene (0-0, 27.00 ERA)
UNF - RHP Mike Franco (5-4, 5.11 ERA)
Tuesday night the Owls head to Jacksonville to take on the Ospreys of North Florida. UNF has had a nice beginning to their 2014 campaign, starting the season off 4-2, and played no. 20 Florida close.
The Owls are continuing to gain national attention and have crawled up to no. 20 in the Perfect Game rankings. Though not ranked in Baseball America's Top 30, FAU is still receiving votes to crack another national ranking.
The big story in Boca right now is the Owl’s bullpen, more specifically reliever Bo Logan. Through 5.2 innings pitched Logan has struck out six batters, and has held opponents to a mere .158.
FAU’s co-captain and closer Kevin Alexander (pictured) has also been dynamite on the mound. Picking up his second save of the season in Sunday’s contest against Monmouth, Alexander fanned three of six batters he faced, and did not allow a runner on base.
The Owl’s new shortstop Stephen Kerr continues to make a name for himself, especially at the plate. Kerr has yet to be struck out this season, and holds a team best .524 batting average that is also good enough to lead Conference USA. Kerr who was battling senior Robert Buckley in the preseason for second base was moved to short after senior Mitch Morales was sidelined with a finger injury. Kerr also leads the team in runs (8), hits (11), and on-base percentage (.607).
Ricky Santiago has had a smooth transition from third to first base, and is being productive at the plate as well. The junior has the Owls lone homerun through the first seven games, and has the second most RBI’s with seven.
The Owls will toss a pair of lefties aginst UNF. Brandon Rhodes picked up his second career win against the Miami Hurricanes in his season debut earlier. Sean Labsan, who was drafted by the Rangers on the 17th round of the 2013 MLB Draft, has tossed only one inning, but looks to be primed and ready for his as well.
Although UNF hasn’t grabbed the preseason attention as FAU, the Ospreys are not to be shrugged off as an easy game. As this team went toe-to-toe with the Florida Gators just last week, losing in the bottom of the 8th, the Ospreys controlled the game up until the end.
UNF’s has s slugger in third baseman Drew Weeks. The junior is hitting .520 through six games, and that is good enough to lead the Atlantic Sun Conference. Weeks also has a slugging percentage of .720, and can drive the deep ball as well; he has one of the Osprey’s three homeruns this season. Weeks is currently enjoying a 14 game hitting streak dating back to last season.
Corbin Olmstead will get the call for UNF on Tuesday, while their Wednesday man has yet to be named. Olmstead has thrown 3.1 innings on the year, while giving up seven hits, four runs, and striking out four.
North Florida has been a division I baseball team since 2006, but has found constant success in NAIA and division II. Head coach Smoke Laval has lead the Osprey’s since 2011, and holds a record of 43-41. Laval has held head coaching stints at LSU and Louisiana-Monroe.
Weather could play havoc on Wednesday's tilt, as a front is expected to push into the Jacksonville area, and with it consistent showers and cool temperatures.
UPDATED 02-25 @ 10:45 PM:
As Brandon Rhodes tossed on Tuesday night, Jimmy Tornabene will get the call Wednesday should the teams be able to avoid weather.
Tonight's Lineup: RF Sanger, SS Kerr, LF Rocklein, 1B Santiago, P Labsan, C Meyer, 2B Buckley, 3B Chatham, CF Endris— The Owl's Nest (@TheOwlsNest_ITB) February 25, 2014
T1 Owls go three up three down, with Sanger and Rocklein flying out to the outfield.— The Owl's Nest (@TheOwlsNest_ITB) February 25, 2014
T1 After Levi Meyers and Sean Labsan ground out in the infield, the Owls find themselves with no hits through two innings.— The Owl's Nest (@TheOwlsNest_ITB) February 25, 2014
T3 Buckley singled up the middle, and gets the Owls their first hit of the game.— The Owl's Nest (@TheOwlsNest_ITB) February 25, 2014
M3 Labsan lets up his first walk of the game,after taking down the first two batters.— The Owl's Nest (@TheOwlsNest_ITB) February 25, 2014