What: FAU (12-6) vs. UTSA (15-3)
When: Fri, March 17th @ 7:00 PM
Sat, March 18th @ 3:00 PM
Sun, March 19th @ 2:00 PM
Where: Roadrunner Field
Video: C-USA TV
UTSA Team Site: Here
Series: Owls possess a 15-9 edge over the Roadrunners.
Projected Starting Pitchers:
UTSA - RHP Luke Malone (1-2, 1.80 ERA)
FAU - LHP Hunter Cooley (2-2, 3.42 ERA)
UTSA - RHP Ulises Quiroga (3-0, 3.86 ERA)
FAU - RHP Jacob Josey (2-1, 1.69 ERA)
UTSA - TBD
FAU - TBD
FAU has gotten back on track this past week, especially with their batting.
The Owls completed a four-game sweep at home against Harvard, outscoring them 39-23 throughout the series. Their last contest against the Crimson, which saw them blow a 8-3 lead, needed some unlikely heroics from Patrick Ward to walk off with the sweep in extra innings Monday night. They went on to demolish Bradley 15-2 in Wednesday's one-off only needing seven innings.
Nolan Schanuel (pictured) continues to pick up the pace with his hitting. The outfielder took home his first C-USA Hitter of the Week this season after batting a spectacular .667 for 10 RBI and five home runs against Florida and three of the four games against Harvard. His overall stats currently involve a .458 average (26th in the country), a 1.624 OPS, 27 hits, 25 RBI, and eight home runs (all team-highs).
Infielder Jackson Ross has also gained a rhythm recently. Getting at least one hit in his last eight games, he fired home the team's first grand slam of the season against Bradley to put the game away early on. Throughout his hitting streak, he is batting .361 for 13 RBI and three homers.
Jacob Josey has been very solid for the Owls' bullpen. He has a team-best 1.69 ERA on the season, which puts him at 52nd among the best pitchers in the country for that statistic. In 21.1 innings, opposing batters are hitting .277 against Josey while he has struck them out 15 times. He could play a key role in limiting UTSA's offensive production when he steps onto the mound Saturday.
FAU is considering two pitchers to start on Sunday: Evan Waterbor and Tyler Murphy. Waterbor, the Owls' starter for Tuesday matchups, has been solid throughout the season with his best games coming against UCF (2.25 ERA with five strikeouts in four innings) and Miami (1.80 ERA with four strikeouts in five innings). On the other hand, Murphy has one of the best ERAs on the team with 1.74 as a freshman, showcasing his great pitching ability against Florida (0.00 ERA with two strikeouts in two innings) earlier this month.
The starters (in non-batting order) for game one should be that of the below:
RF Jake Millan
CF Jalen DeBose
LF Dylan Goldstein
1B Nolan Schanuel
2B Patrick Ward
3B Jackson Ross
DH Mitchell Hartigan
SS Armando Albert
C John Schroeder
P Hunter Cooley
UTSA baseball has been on fire this season heading into conference play.
Beginning the year 3-2, they have won 12 of their last 13 and are currently riding a seven-game winning streak with wins over Utah, Texas State, Texas A&M - Corpus Christi, and Stephen F. Austin. Throughout that stretch of consecutive victories, they have yet to score under nine runs in any game.
Currently at the top of the C-USA standings, the Roadrunners have yet to get plenty of attention from media outlets but received votes from the National College Baseball Writers Association in their latest rankings.
UTSA has a very cohesive batting unit ranking seventh in the country for batting average (.338), with three of their players hitting .400 or higher. Infielder Antonio Valdez is their best batter with a .458 average (25th in the nation) while putting up 33 hits for 35 RBI and five home runs. Infielder Leyton Berry and outfielder Shane Sirdashney follow suit with .418 and .400 averages respectively.
The Owls must watch out for the Roadrunners' bullpen when they go up to bat. UTSA possesses the best ERA in C-USA and the eighth best in the nation at 2.74, with pitchers Luke Malone (1.80 ERA and 30 strikeouts) and Ulises Quiroga (3.86 ERA and 24 strikeouts) at the forefront for this series. Timing their swings at the right time could help FAU neutralize the Roadrunners' best strength in their pitching unit.
After this set of contests, UTSA will remain in-state heading to Edinberg for Tuesday's game against UTRGV and then to Houston to play a three-game series against Rice.