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Preview: SBC Tourney Round 1 - FAU vs WKU


Sun Belt Championship Tournament - 1st Round:

Florida Atlantic (33-20, 21-9) vs Western Kentucky (33-20, 16-14)

May 26th @ 1:30pm ET

FAU: Projected starter - RHP Ryan Garton (6-3, 5.00 ERA)
FIU: Projected starter - TBA

The Series: Florida Atlantic swept WKU in a three game series earlier this season.  It was a highly contested match up with two games decided by one run. Saturdays contest was decided in extra innings.

Gametracker: HERE
Listen Live: HERE

Inside the Hilltoppers Dugout

-The Hilltoppers have won the Sun Belt Conference tournament twice, in 2004 and 2008.
-Western Kentucky remain the only #8 seed to defeat a #1 seed in the first round of a tournament,  since the Sun Belt Conference did away with divisional play in 1995.  The Hilltoppers knocked off top-seeded Louisiana-Lafayette 10-7,  in 2005.
-The Hilltoppers earned their first series win in nearly a month in taking 2-of-2 games from the Blue Raiders last weekend and finished the season tied for 6th place in the conference.
-The Hilltoppers are 9-12 this season against the conference tournament field.
-In their 16 conference wins, the Hilltoppers averaged 8.8 runs per game, while in their 14 loses averaged 4.0 runs per game.Matt Ridings is looking for one more victory, in which he will stand alone as the all-time wins leader in Sun Belt Conference history. His 34 career wins are currently tied with Jason Norton (South Alabama, 1995-98) for the most career pitching victories in Sun Belt Conference history.

Inside the Owls Dugout

-John McCormack was named the SBC Coach of the Year after guiding the Owls to a 21-9 conference record, a team record and its first-ever Sun Belt Conference Regular Season title.
-The Owls will be seeking their first SBC tournament title after winning a record 21 conference games.  The Owls have never won more than 15 conference games in a season since they joined the league in 2007 but have qualified for the tournament in all four years they have competed in the Sun Belt Conference.
-Andy Mee leads the team and is currently 4th in the conference in batting (.390) and 2nd in hits (89) - has 50 RBI & 8 home runs.  Mee also leads the conference with 11 save in 19  appearance from the toe rubber.
-Dan Scheffler (.376) is 2nd in the conference with a Slugging-percentage (.720) and on-base-percentage (.492).  He is also 3rd with (19) doubles and leads the team with 57 RBIs.
-Owls ace, Mike Gipson (3.24) leads the conference with 2 shutouts, 3rd in strikeouts (85, 7.65.game), 2nd in innings pitched (100, 7.14/game) and has held conference opponents to a .227 batting average.

-The Owls are hitting .307 heading into tournament play...7th in conference play....3rd in pitching with a 4.91 ERA.-The Owls average 6.58 runs per game while opponents have averaged 5.53 runs.

Quotes of the Day:

“Have we reached our potential yet? I don’t think so, there is a lot of room for improvement, we played very well this weekend I thought, especially Friday and Saturday.”

On this weekend’s pitching:
“Were not trying to do anything different. We’re going to start Garton and then Gipson”

On beating expectations from last season:
“Were a completely different team, if you look at last year, we lost a lot of good seniors and baseball recruiting is a completely different game.”

On Andy Mee:
“Very good player, we wouldn’t be where we are without him.”

On beating expectations from last season:
“Were a completely different team, if you look at last year, we lost a lot of good seniors and baseball recruiting is a completely different game.”

On Western Kentucky:
“We were fortunate enough to beat them at home.”

”It’s a neutral site; there a good team, and we know it. We’ve got to play well and pitch well and were looking forward to it.

-Coach McCormack, commenting on the season and upcoming match-up with Western Kentucky


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