What: FAU (23-19, 7-11) vs. FIU (16-24, 4-14)
When: Fri, April 28th @ 6:30 PM
Sat, April 29th @ 4:00 PM
Sun, April 30th @ 12:00 PM
Where: FAU Baseball Stadium
Video: C-USA TV
Live Stats: Here
FIU Team Site: Here
Series: Owls lead 77-53 all-time against the Panthers.
Projected Starting Pitchers:
FIU - RHP Angel Tiburcio (3-4, 6.34 ERA)
FAU - RHP CJ Williams (0-1, 3.51 ERA)
FIU - RHP Jackson Ritchey (3-1, 6.23 ERA)
FAU - RHP Jacob Josey (4-3, 4.58 ERA)
FIU - TBD
FAU - TBD
Following recent struggles, the Owls could have key starters returning to the fold to provide significant boosts to the team.
FAU is seeing major progress in Christian Adams' (pictured) recovery from injury. Last appearing against Harvard on March 10, the junior infielder has been upgraded from out to questionable, and might have a chance to play against FIU this weekend. Adams has a .280 batting average with 14 RBI and three home runs in 14 starts this season.
The Owls have had trouble figuring out who to play at second base since Adams sustained his injury in March. They had an 8-6 record when he played (15-13 without) but have switched between the likes of Daulton Frank (.189), Lucas Phelps (.179), Dom Presto (.143), and most recently an out-of-position Caleb Pendleton (.239) without much success. It is likely that having Adams come back would prove beneficial for the team with the goal of regaining momentum still in play.
Tuesday night saw Spencer Rich make his return to the outfield. Having recently appeared as a pinch runner against Florida Gulf Coast on April 4 and 11, Rich brought home one RBI against #16 Miami as he restores stability to the Owls' starting rotation.
John Schroeder and Dylan Goldstein had solid performances against the Hurricanes. Schroder went 2-3 in his at-bats to finish with a team-high four RBI including a three-run homer to left field, which improved his batting average to .270. On the other hand, Goldstein had three RBI and fired a two-run home run for his eighth this season. He ranks second on the team in RBI (42) and third in batting average (.321) and hits (52). It is possible they maintain their form for their at-bats against FIU's bullpen this weekend.
The starters (in non-batting order) for game one should be that of the below:
RF Spencer Rich
CF Jalen DeBose
LF Dylan Goldstein
1B Nolan Schanuel
2B Caleb Pendleton or Christian Adams
3B Jackson Ross
DH Mitchell Hartigan
SS Armando Albert
C John Schroeder or Caleb Pendleton
P CJ Williams
FIU managed to squeeze out two victories against nationally-ranked teams in #24 Florida Gulf Coast and #22 UTSA last week.
The Panthers knocked off the Eagles with a 5-4 win, and after getting torched 31-16 in the first two games against the Roadrunners, they won the series finale by a convincing score of 6-1.
Ruben Carpio was a key standout for the Panthers against UTSA. The junior outfielder went 8-15 for seven RBI and a home run against the Roadrunners, having emerged hot with his batting for the second half of the season. Carpio has a .431 batting average with 21 RBI and two home runs this year, so cooling him off should be one of FAU's priorities entering this series.
With FIU's starting pitchers for Friday and Saturday having ERAs above 6.00, the Owls should look to put their bats to good use. The Panthers' inability to limit the runs they allow has kept them in the bottom 100 of the nation with the 7.34 ERA they have this season, and FAU has a good chance to exploit that weakness throughout the three-game affair.
After this matchup, the Panthers will remain in-state as they head up to Daytona Beach to play Bethune-Cookman on Wednesday before hosting Western Kentucky for three games over the weekend.