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SERIES CAPSULE: FAU vs UTSA - May 16th - 18th, 2024

What: FAU (25-25, 11-13 AAC) vs. UTSA (30-21, 15-9 AAC)

When: Thu, May 16th @ 6:30 PM
           Fri, May 17th @ 6:30 PM
           Sat, May 18th @ 1:00 PM

Where: FAU Baseball Stadium

Video: ESPN+

Live Stats: Here

UTSA Team Site: Here

Series: Owls lead 15-12 all-time against the Roadrunners.

Projected Starting Pitchers:

UTSA - RHP Ulises Quiroga (7-1, 3.77 ERA)
FAU - RHP CJ Williams (5-3, 3.09 ERA)

FAU - LHP Trey Beard (3-3, 5.04 ERA)

FAU - RHP Brandon Smith (2-4, 6.75 ERA)

Owl Notables

It's crunch time for the Owls as they teeter on the edge of the AAC Standings, locked in a four-way tie for fourth place and needing to secure their spot in the postseason.

Hosting their last AAC series of the regular season, the Owls will want to finish the three-game set against the Roadrunners with a bang. In Friday's matchup, they will be honoring 12 players for Senior Day.

  • P CJ Williams (Seven career wins; career-highs in innings played (75.2) and strikeouts (67) and career-best 3.07 ERA this season)
  • P Danny Trehey (Three career wins and Six career saves; career-high 60 strikeouts and career-best 2.06 ERA this season)
  • P Nicholas Del Prado (Nine career wins; career-highs in wins (5) and strikeouts (48) in 2023)
  • P Sam Drumheller (Eight career wins and three career saves; approaching new program-record of 100 appearances with FAU)
  • P Brandon Smith (Four career wins; career-highs in innings played (36) and strikeouts (25) this season)
  • P Braden Ostrander (Two career wins and five career saves; career-highs in innings played (20.2) and strikeouts (24) in 2023)
  • P Ben Gilbert (Pitched 11.1 innings throughout 15 games with a 6.35 ERA and nine strikeouts)
  • CF Spencer Rich (Has a .244 batting average this season with 38 hits, seven doubles, and three home runs this season)
  • LF Jalen DeBose (Career-highs in batting average (.307), hits (39), and RBI (26) this season)
  • 2B Christian Adams (Career-highs in batting average (.332), hits (62), walks (37), RBI (28), doubles (12), and home runs (8) this season)
  • 1B Mike La Rocca (Has four hits and one RBI this season)
  • C Andrew McKenna (Has 29 hits, 28 RBI, and four home runs this season)

Leading the charge in FAU's offense is Christian Adams, who has displayed remarkable consistency over the past 10 games. During this stretch, Adams has notched an impressive 15 hits in 36 at-bats, tallying 10 runs and three doubles. His presence in the lineup promises to be instrumental in the Owls' scoring efforts.

Meanwhile, Jake Millan and Jalen DeBose have also emerged as key contributors in FAU's offensive arsenal. Millan has been on a tear, going 5-for-13 with two home runs and six RBI in the last five games, including a grand slam against FGCU. DeBose, riding a five-game hitting streak, has been equally impactful, delivering a home run and driving in four runs against the Eagles.

Adding to the significance of the series is the impending milestone for one of FAU's pitchers. Sam Drumheller is on the cusp of etching his name in the program's history books as he prepares to make his 100th pitching appearance. Drumheller's impending achievement underscores the dedication and resilience of the Owls' pitching staff, highlighting their pivotal role in the team's success against UTSA.

This weekend presents a critical juncture for FAU, with their qualification for the AAC Tournament hanging in the balance. The Owls' path to Clearwater next week hinges on a magic number of two: any combination of FAU wins and USF losses totaling two will punch their ticket to the tournament. However, their fate remains uncertain, with the Bulls facing UAB at home.

FAU's standing could swing dramatically, with the potential to climb as high as third place if teams above them stumble, or plummet to ninth if they falter against UTSA and other contenders secure victories.

The starters (in non-batting order) for game one should be that of the below:

RF John Schroeder
CF Spencer Rich
LF Jalen DeBose
1B Emilio Gonzalez
2B Christian Adams
3B Patrick Ward
DH Carter Brady
SS Brando Leroux
C Andrew McKenna
P CJ Williams

Following this series, the Owls await their destiny regarding qualification to the AAC Tournament, which will begin on May 21st and end on May 26th.

Roadrunner Notables

UTSA (30-21, 15-9 AAC) remains a strong contender for the AAC regular-season championship.

Starting the weekend just one game behind East Carolina and holding the tiebreaker over the Pirates, the Roadrunners bounced back from consecutive series losses by taking two of three from USF last week.

Currently seated in second place with a 15-9 conference record, UTSA is trailing conference favorite No. 13 East Carolina (16-8) by just one game. Tulane and Wichita State are currently tied for third place with a 13-11 record. While securing just one win would guarantee them the second seed, the potential scenario of sweeping FAU while East Carolina gets swept by Rice could propel the Roadrunners to the top seed and the regular-season title.

UTSA leads the American Athletic Conference in several offensive categories, including hits (541), hit by pitch (101, 22nd in the nation), and walks allowed per nine innings (3.51, 18th in the nation). Additionally, they rank second in the conference with a .305 batting average, 529 hits, .393 on-base percentage, 30 sacrifice flies (20th in the nation), and a 2.46 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

FAU will need to be wary of UTSA's bullpen, particularly Ruger Riojas, who ranks second in the conference and seventh nationally in victories with nine. Riojas boasts a 3.36 ERA and leads the team in strikeouts with 67. Ulises Quiroga, set to start on Thursday, has also been impressive with seven wins and a 3.77 ERA this season, limiting opponents to a .224 batting average.

Matt King leads the nation with 10 sacrifice flies, while Mason Lytle poses a significant challenge as the toughest batter to strike out in the AAC (10.6). King is currently on an 18-game reached-base streak, and Lytle leads the league in five categories, including doubles (18), hits (83), and total bases (140). Lytle's impressive hitting performance places him ninth nationally in hits and hits per game. Preventing them from making key plays will be crucial for the Owls to contain UTSA's offense.

Following this series, the Roadrunners await the opponent they will face in the first round of the AAC Tournament on May 21st.

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