What: FAU (0-0) vs. Monmouth (0-0)
When: Fri, Feb 17th @ 6:30 PM
Sat, Feb 18th @ 4:00 PM
Sun, Feb 19th @ 12:00 PM
Where: FAU Baseball Stadium
Video: C-USA TV
Monmouth Team Site: Here
Series: Owls own a massive 39-4 advantage over the Hawks. First matchup since 2019 (9-4 FAU).
Projected Starting Pitchers:
MON- LHP Alex Barker
FAU- LHP Hunter Cooley
MON- RHP Reed Interdonato
FAU- RHP Jacob Josey
MON- RHP Jem Sisco
FAU- RHP Dylan Oborne (Owl debut)
Head coach John McCormack (478-297-2) enters his 15th year as the Owls' skipper, as the team looks to build on their 35 wins and 4th place finish in Conference USA last season. He will have one 2023 D1 Baseball Preseason All-American returning to assist him with the objective of leaving the conference as winners before entering The American in 2024. C-USA's coaches poll projects them to finish 3rd behind defending champion Louisiana Tech and newcomer Dallas Baptist this year.
Junior outfielder Nolan Schanuel nabbed a spot on the third team of D1 Baseball's All-American list as well as First Team recognition from Baseball America, showcasing spectacular performances throughout the 2022 campaign. C-USA recognized the elite batter as their Preseason Player of the Year, leading FAU with a .369 average and driving in 55 runs with 16 home runs last season. While he will mainly cover the right field, Schanuel will play at first base Friday night and later on during the season depending on changes in the lineup.
Another key player returning to the batting unit is outfielder Dylan Goldstein. The sophomore hopped onto the stage with a strong showcase last year, having the third-best average with .333 while getting the second-most home runs on the team with 18.
FAU will take a unique approach for the opener, playing both Jalen DeBose and Spencer Rich in the outfield. DeBose tied for second alongside Nolan Schanuel in successful stolen bases with 11 last year behind shortstop Armando Albert's 19, while Rich stole an incredible 20 bases in 31 games at Daytona College in 2021. This lineup change indicates a big emphasis on speed when the Owls are batting, so one might expect this team to be aggressive when these players are on base.
On the mound, Preseason All C-USA pick Hunter Cooley will lead the bullpen as the Owls' leading returner. Cooley finished last season ranking 4th with five league wins, and 19th in ERA at 5.15. He saw the most time out of all pitchers in 2022 with 73.1 innings pitched.
The starters (in non-batting order) for game one should be that of the below:
1B Nolan Schanuel
2B Christian Adams
3B Jackson Ross
SS Armando Albert
C Andrew Hernandez
P Hunter Cooley
DH Mitchell Hartigan
LF Jalen DeBose
CF Spencer Rich
RF Dylan Goldstein
Monmouth begins their 2023 campaign taking on FAU, Northern Illinois, Maine, and Penn State within a span of a week.
The Hawks had a decent performance last year finishing with a 24-27 overall record (12-10 MAAC). That was their last season in the conference, embarking on a new journey in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA). The CAA's coaches poll expects them to finish 9th out of 11 teams.
Monmouth took a hit in the bullpen, losing three crucial players in Trey Dombroski (3.13 ERA), Rob Hensey (3.87 ERA), and Dan Klepchick (4.87 ERA). They do return 11 pitchers heading into this season including Stephen Aldrich (37 strikeouts, 4th best) and Alex Barker (34 strikeouts, 5th best), who might see more starting opportunities thanks to their performance on the mound last year.
FAU must do well in containing Hawk infielder James Harmstead. He got a spot on the Preseason All-CAA Team due to his record-breaking performances last season. He batted a program-record 18 home runs, getting a .271 batting average which saw him make 55 hits and drive in 48 runs while being the only player to start every game. This earned him All-MAAC Second Team honors at year's end.
Following the departure of outfielder Jake Catalano, who led the Hawks with a .289 batting average, infielder Casey Caufield returns as their best leading batter at .280. He also put up 51 hits for 40 runs, both of which had him rank 3rd and 2nd on the team last season.