Feb. 6, 2013
Boca Raton, FL - With three returning players, experience will be a key element in the outfield for the Florida Atlantic University baseball team that begins the spring season on February 15.
The Owls are the defending Sun Belt Conference (SBC) regular-season champions after last year’s 19-8 league record, and have been Perfect Game’s preseason choice to again capture the title.
As the new campaign approaches, FAUSports.com takes a look at FAU’s outfielders.
Senior Corey Keller anchors the unit and provides Head Coach John McCormack with consistent offense in the middle of the batting order. Keller tied for the team lead with seven home runs a year ago, and had a .302 batting average. The Cherry Creek, Colo. native earned SBC league player of the week honors after hitting .727 with three home runs in a home game against UCF and three-game sweep of league opponent Louisiana. Keller also had the game-winning hit against FIU to secure last year’s league title.
Pittman started 37 games in any of the three outfield positions in 2012, and ended the season by hitting three home runs and averaging .409 at the plate in the final six games. The Bradenton, FL native led the team with 10 stolen bases last season. Jimenez got all 52 of his starts in center field, scored 32 runs, hit .279 and legged out 10 doubles last spring. The Pembroke Pines native ranked third on the team with six steals.
“Nathan and Geoff are still battling for a starting role in center field,” acknowledged McCormack. “Nathan had a really good fall. However, you cannot forget what Geoff did last year.”
Junior college transfer Tyler Rocklein also had a strong fall campaign and looks to hold down the remaining outfield position. He earned all-state and all-conference honors following his sophomore season at the State College of Florida, and was a Florida Summer Collegiate League all-star selection last summer.
Freshmen Billy Endris and Gabriel Aurrecoechea have also challenged for playing time in the outfield. Endris was a 2011 Perfect Game Underclassmen Honorable Mention All-American after stealing 22 bases and hitting .438 at Tampa Catholic High School. Aurrecoechea was a Rawlings All-American Honorable Mention choice at American Heritage-Plantation High School. He also earned first-team and all-star honors by Browardhighschoolbaseball.com.
The Owls open the season against the University of Cincinnati on Friday, February 15 at 6:30 p.m. from the FAU Baseball Stadium, 777 Glades Road. Live audio and statistics of games will be available here. Season tickets are available by contacting the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.