What: RV FAU (6-1) vs No. 22 Miami (7-1)
When: Feb 28 & Apr 19 6:30 PM Boca Raton | Mar 22 & Apr 25 6:00 PM Miami
Where: FAU Baseball Stadium | Mark Light Park
Video: CUSA.tv FAU | ACCNX Miami
Live Stats: Here
Miami Team Site: Here
Series: UM leads 69-20 all-time and swept FAU in 2022 (9-1, 7-1, 7-6)
Projected Starting Pitchers:
FAU - LHP Evan Waterbor (1-0, 1.80 ERA)
MIA - RHP Ben Chestnutt (0-0, 2.45 ERA)
Florida Atlantic got an early jump on new AAC rival South Florida this past weekend, taking two-of-three from the Bulls (1-5, 8-7, 8-6) with the final two contests being highly competitive and close in outcome.
After dropping the opener primarily due to fielding errors, the Owls settled in for the remainder of the series putting up timely scores while successfully answering USF counters on both sides of the field.
And for the first time this season, they are getting some rankings activity, receiving votes in the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Top 30 Poll along side fellow C-USA newcomer Dallas Baptist.
In what can be considered somewhat of a "surprise" early on the in year, reserve catcher and designated hitter John Schroeder (photo below) has emerged into the spotlight offensively while contributing a number of well time bombs and a consistent bat. Despite appearing in only five of the team's seven games, Schroeder is tied for 2nd on the team with 10 RBI and leads in doubles with five.
Schroeder paved the way for FAU this weekend sporting an OPS of 1.571 and was responsible for 36% of the Owls' earned run production. His two run shot in Sunday's finale proved to be the difference maker in handing Florida Atlantic the series.
Another plus at the plate has been shortstop Armando Albert. Albert concluded 2022 with a.251 average but is sporting .346 mark through seven games. And although he's done it by being more aggressive with his swings, he's still earning free passes - joining both Nolan Schanuel (.370) and Jackson Ross (.393) with a team best seven walks each.
Ross also had a two run homer against he Bulls, and is leading FAU with long balls on the year to go with three 2B and 10 runs scored.
After a solid outing on the road at Central Florida in the Owls' 13-3 blowout win, Coach McCormack will once again give the ball to Evan Waterbor to start Tuesday's initial marquee home contest for FAU Baseball Stadium. Waterbor has tossed five innings in two appearances with a sparing 1.80 ERA and six strikeouts to his credit.
As is usually the case, Miami is receiving a lot of attention in the early season polls. Voters amongst the various outlets have combined to place the Canes anywhere from 22nd to as high as 5th.
- Collegiate Baseball 5
- Perfect Game 9
- Baseball America 10
- NCBWA 17
- Coaches Poll 19
- D1 Baseball 22
Keeping with their sports information department's claim, we're slating them at #22 which is where D1 Baseball currently has them after two weekends of game action.
Miami (7-1) is coming off of a commanding sweep of Dartmouth, who turned out to be not so Big while amassing just nine total runs over the three game set - seven of which came in the series opener. Ironically, the Canes' lone loss on the early season came at the hands of Penn State 9-5 on opening night at Mark Light Field. The team has yet to take to the trail for 2023, so Tuesday's contest In Boca Raton will serve as their road debut.
"We saw them in the fall, they're going to be good and you've got to be ready to play", said McCormack. "Especially when they've got the lead. They've done a really good job with the bullpen - those guys are ready to roll."
Offense has been tough to come by for opponents with the UM staff maintaining an average of just 3.38 runs per outing, and this number is actually skewed by two contents which account for 12 of their paltry 27 total allowed. Remove those, and the stinginess displayed by the combined staff which is limiting opposing batters to a .220 average is evident.
Junior outfielder Zach Levenson is pacing the clubs most productive hitters with a .538 mark at the plate. He has 14 hits with six having gone for extra bases (3 2B, 3HR). Leading the RBI category is freshman infielder Blake Cyr (.455), who is responsible for 13 of the Canes' run total.
Junior right hander Ben Chestnutt will get the start against the Owls. Chestnutt has two appearances over 7.1 innings for the Canes. During that stint he has notched 11 K's, but has also walked six batters.