Sophomore Austin Gomber gets the opening day start and earned preseason all-conference honors
Feb. 14, 2013
Boca Raton, FL - First pitch for the much-anticipated season comes for the Florida Atlantic University baseball team on Friday, February 15 with the opening game of a weekend series against the University of Cincinnati of the Big East Conference.
The series also contains single games on Saturday, February 16 at 2 p.m. and Sunday, February 17 at noon from the FAU Baseball Stadium, 777 Glades Road on the Boca Raton campus.
These three games are part of an eight-game home stand to begin the 2013 season.
FAU has received votes in the Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America preseason polls, and has been picked to repeat as Sun Belt Conference (SBC) regular-season champions in the league's preseason coaches poll. The Owls returns six positional players and two starting pitchers from last year's 32-win season.
Florida Atlantic's baseball program has had 14 consecutive winning seasons.
Expected to lead the team's offensive attack this spring is senior first baseman Mark Nelson, a preseason all-conference selection. He batted .290 with a team-high seven home runs a year ago, and the co-captain drove in 35 of his team-high 45 runs in SBC games.
Senior outfielder Corey Keller also hit seven home runs last season and ranked third on the team with a .302 batting average. He drove in 28 runs and scored 36 runs. Senior catcher Mike Spano had a break-out year last spring, earning second-team all-conference honors after throwing out 28 percent of potential base stealers (10-of-36).
On the mound, sophomore left hander Austin Gomber will start against the Bearcats in the season opener. He went 3-4 and had 63 strikeouts in 12 starts last season. Redshirt senior Hugh Adams earned first-team All-South Central Region honors in 2011 after leading the conference with 10 saves. Adams needs three saves to tie the school record for career saves.
Junior Jeremy Strawn compiled a 1.93 earned run average in two starting assignments last season. The right hander is scheduled to get the starting assignment in Sunday's game. Senior Jake Meiers rounds out the starting rotation and will take the mound to start Saturday's match up.
Cincinnati is coming off an 18-38 season, including a 7-20 Big East record. The Bearcats will start right hander Christian McElroy in the opener. He posted four victories and 46 strikeouts last season. The team is also expected to start Andrew Strenge and Conor Walsh in the other two games of the series.
FAU Head Coach John McCormack and Cincinnati Head Coach Brian Cleary were teammates at Pope John Paul II High School in Boca Raton. This weekend marks the second time they have squared off in opposing dugouts. The Owls won two of three games in a 2010 series in South Florida.
Live audio and statistics of each game will be available at www.fausports.com. Season and single-game tickets are also available by contacting the FAU Ticket Office at 1-866-FAU-OWLS.