SERIES CAPSULE: FAU @ Charlotte - May 5th - 7th, 2023
What: FAU (26-19, 10-11) vs UNCC (23-21, 12-8)
When: Fri, May 5th @ 6:00 PM
Sat, May 6th @ 3:00 PM
Sun, May 7th @ 1:00 PM
Where: Hayes Stadium
Charlotte Team Site: Here
Series: Owls lead 18-10 all-time against the 49ers.
Projected Starting Pitchers:
CHA - RHP Wyatt Hudepohl (4-5, 3.84 ERA)
FAU - RHP CJ Williams (1-1, 3.05 ERA)
CHA - RHP Paxton Thompson (4-2, 4.20 ERA)
FAU - RHP Jacob Josey (4-3, 4.34 ERA)
CHA - RHP Cameron Hansen (3-1, 3.38 ERA)
FAU - RHP Nicholas Del Prado (5-2, 4.03 ERA)
With the returns of starters Spencer Rich and Christian Adams, FAU got the bats rolling against FIU last weekend.
Without the duo, the Owls scored just 21 runs in their last two series against Dallas Baptist and Western Kentucky. They bounced back by scoring a blazing 31 runs to sweep the Panthers and get themselves back into rhythm with both Rich and Adams back into the rotation.
A key standout for FAU this past weekend was senior outfielder Mitchell Hartigan (pictured). He is currently on a four-game hitting streak, going 5-11 in his at-bats against FIU to finish with nine RBI and a home run. Hartigan's solid performance against the Panthers raised his batting average to .270, as he could be heating up at the right time with the regular season nearing its end.
Nolan Schanuel also had an impressive showing against the Panthers. The junior outfielder blasted two home runs in the series finale, going 9-13 in all of his at-bats against FIU's bullpen to grow his hitting average to .473 which puts him at second in the country behind LSU's Dylan Crews who is batting .486 on the season.
Another crucial factor to the Owls' convincing sweep over FIU was their bullpen. After conceding 43 runs to Dallas Baptist and Western Kentucky, they pulled out all the stops to allow just eight runs against the Panthers. CJ Williams and Nicholas Del Prado served their time on the mound well, combining for 13 strikeouts and no earned runs allowed in nine innings. It is likely they will continue to start on the mound to close out the season if they maintain their excellent performances to propel FAU to more victories.
How Rich and Adams perform against Charlotte would be worth keeping an eye on. Since their returns to the field, both racked up four RBI each which included a two-run homer from Adams to clinch the series win over FIU.
The starters (in non-batting order) for game one should be that of the below:
RF John Schroeder
CF Spencer Rich
LF Dylan Goldstein
1B Nolan Schanuel
2B Christian Adams
3B Jackson Ross
DH Mitchell Hartigan
SS Armando Albert
C Caleb Pendleton
P CJ Williams
Sliding down the standings with a four-game losing streak, Charlotte bounced back with a 7-3 upset win over #7 Coastal Carolina.
Dealing with a three-game sweep to Western Kentucky which saw them get outscored 27-17, the 49ers woke up at the right time to pick up their second win against a top-10 ranked team this season. They trailed 3-2 heading into the fifth inning before scoring five consecutive runs to take down the Chanticleers. Their overall record might say otherwise, but their ability in beating stronger competition is something FAU should not underestimate entering this series.
Cam Fisher is one 49er the Owls have to watch out for when he steps up to bat. Fisher is deadly when it comes to home runs, which he has 21 this year as it ties him for third in the nation (for comparison, FAU's Schanuel is tied for 19th with 17 homers). Keeping him from getting hot with his swings would be crucial for FAU if they are to limit what Charlotte's offense is capable of when Fisher is producing.
FAU batters might need to show patience during their at-bats against 49er pitcher Wyatt Hudepohl. Starting on the mound Friday night, Hudepohl combined for 25 strikeouts against Rice and UAB where he only allowed one run in both starts. His elite ability in striking out batters has him ranked in the top 20 (13th) of the country, where he has a total of 84 this season. He cooled off last Friday against the Hilltoppers as he conceded six runs, so getting the bats rolling to start would benefit FAU's chances in starting the series with a win.
After this matchup, Charlotte will head to Florida to take on the Panthers for a three-game affair at Miami starting May 12.