TALLAHASSEE THREAD: FAU vs Texas Tech & FSU - Feb 28th & 29th, 2020
What:† † 2020 FAU Baseball In Tallahassee
1. Florida Atlantic 7-0
2. Texas Tech 8-1
3. Florida State 7-1
Friday, Feb 28th
Game 1: FAU vs #2 Texas Tech 2:00 PM
Game 2: FAU vs #12 FSU 6:00 PM
Saturday, Feb 29th
Game 3: FAU vs #14 FSU 2:00 PM
Where:† Dick Howser Stadium
Stats Game 1:† † Here
Stats Game 2:† † Here
Stats Game 3:† † Here
Audio Game 1:† † Here
Video Game 2:† † Here
Video Game 3:† † Here
Friday's opening tilt marks the first ever meeting for FAU against the Red Raiders. The Owls will take on FSU in Tallahassee for the first time in 22 years. They are 1-9 against the Seminoles all-time and lost 13-7 to FSU in the Athens Regional last year.
Projected Starting Pitchers
Friday:† † † RHP Corey Ireson (1-0, 2.08 ERA)
Friday:† † † RHP Jacob Josey (0-0, 5.79 ERA)
The Owls are riding a 7-0 mark to begin 2020, but will arguably face their toughest RPI stretch in program history beginning with this weekend's trio of contests against #2 Texas Tech, and #12 FSU - both of which appeared in the 2019 College World Series. Immediately thereafter will be back-to-back match-ups against #1 Florida and #6 Miami.
Coach John McCormack is treating this weekend like a regional tournament appearance for his club, and will use it as preparation for a hopeful post season run to the grandstands of TD Ameritrade Park. The win count isn't as important as the experience the team will need to get there.
"I never say we need 'x' amount of games to be successful," McCormack said. "A hundred percent we are going there to win, but this is what we need to get ready to play in to ultimately get to Omaha, and we've got to learn how to play well in this environment."
FAU received votes for the second straight week in the NCBWA Top 30 poll, but has yet to see any ranking consideration in the major and minor polls.
Offense has been the strength McCormack's crew thus far, belting out of average of 8.6 runs per outing, while one contest was actually shorted to just five frames due to weather. The run tally has been aided by an incredibly patient eye, which has earned 54 walks on the year (6th D1).
With a .311 collective batting average, Florida Atlantic is currently the 21st best hitting team in the country, and have 10 home runs to their credit (14th). Sophomore Mitchell Hartigan paces the squad with a .478 average, a .594 OBP and a slugging percentage of .826. He has five extra base hits amongst his team-high 11.
Not being known for swipes on the basepath in recent years, the Owls already have eight stolen bases (38% of total 2019 count of 21) through only seven games, and will likely look to purloin more in Tallahassee.
McCormack has elected to modify the starters for the weekend, opting to move Corey Ireson to the lead-off spot against the Red Raiders, while giving Jacob Josey the night cap against the Seminoles.
Projected Starting Pitcher
Friday:† RHP Clayton Beeter (1-1, 4.50)
While Fridayís matchup with FAU will be the first between the two schools on the diamond, the Red Raiders and Seminoles have grown quite familiar with each other over the last few years. Most recently, thee teams were reunited at last yearís College World Series, where the Red Raiders eliminated the Seminoles with a 4-1 win in Mike Martin's final game.
Freshman catcher Nate Rombach was named the NCBWA offensive player of the week on February 18th after hitting five home runs with 15 RBI in a four game span against Houston Baptist and Northern Colorado. Rombach currently lead in home runs and ranks second in RBI after the first weekend of the season.
Tech is coming off a midweek sweep of Southern and a 2-1 showing at the inaugural Round Rock Classic last weekend. Tech picked up wins over No. 15 Stanford and Houston at the event after dropping its first game of the season against Tennessee.
The Red Raider's top three starting rotation have all hit 96+ mph, and the collective staff ranks 13th in strikeouts per nine innings (12.5) and 23rd in strikeout to walk ratio (3.96).
The Red Raiders feature one of the nationís top offenses, ranking among the Top 10 of several categories, including batting average (3rd), slugging percentage (2nd), on base percentage (3rd), hits (3rd), base on balls (3rd), home runs (3rd), scoring (7th) and doubles (7th).
Projected Starting Pitchers
Friday:† † † RHP C.J. Van Eyk (0-0, 1.04)
Saturday:† LHP Bryce Hubbart (0-1, 6.00)
Heading into the weekend at 6-1 on the season, FSU's lone loss was ironically on opening day at home to the likes of Niagara by a final score of 3-1. That motivation set the bats on fire afterwards though, as they pounded out 24-4, and 11-1 wins to take the series. But it likely hurt them in the rankings, or they could be even higher that the current spot of #12.
After a 7-4 win over South Florida, they continued the offensive outpouring by dismissing Cincinnati 3-0 behind a run margin of 31-10 for their current mark.
Like the Owls, the Seminoles are very patient at the plate, where they have garnered 60 free passes (2nd NCAA D1). They have a team batting mark of .270.
Outfielder Elijah Cabell checks in at .278 from the plate, but has a team high 15 RBI on the season to his credit, which is fueled by three homers. He also enjoys a squad best .594 on base showing.
The Seminoles pitching staff is keeping opponent's offense at bay with just a .183 showing behind a collective .214 ERA (25th nationally). Their 12.1 strikeouts per game is 15th in the nation.
Owls offense only mustered a pair of hits, and the Red Raiders got into our bullpen to add a few late.
Final. #2 #TexasTech 7 - #FAU 1.— FAU Owl's Nest (@FAU_Owls_Nest) February 28, 2020
The Red Raiders add a couple in their half of the ninth. Still, a strong effort from @FAU_Baseball against one of the nations best!
The Owls will now face #5 #FSU, with first pitching coming at 6 PM.