BOCA RATON, Fla. - The Florida Atlantic University baseball team looks to improve on a sparkling start to their home schedule, with a brief two-game set hosting North Florida Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of the first Conference USA series of the season, on the road this weekend.
The Owls (11-4) most recently finished off their third straight home weekend opponent and moved to 10-0 this year at FAU Baseball Stadium with a sweep of Seton Hall. This weekend, they outscored the Pirates 25-5, with back-to-back double-digit scoring outputs to close the series. While the Owls' pitching staff has been tremendous to start the 2018 campaign, they dial it up a notch at home, holding opposing hitters to a .191 batting average, and posting a team ERA of 1.52. Eleven pitchers have a home ERA of 3.00 or better, with seven yet to give up an earned run.
Combining with the offense, the Owls have outscored visiting teams 47-17 overall at home, with Pedro Pages leading the way, hitting at a .410 clip (16-for-39) with 11 RBI. Joe Montes isn't far behind at .359, and Diamond Johnson has 10 RBI (of 11 this year) at his home stadium. Overall, Montes is the team's batting leader at .339, with Pages at .316 and Tyler Frank batting .291. Pages outpaces Johnson by one RBI on the season, and Montes has eight.
UNF (8-9) took two of three this past weekend at home versus Fairfield, and have won five of their last seven. The Ospreys were 33-24 last season, going 12-9 in Atlantic Sun Conference play to finish fourth. They were forecasted fifth by league coaches in the ASUN preseason poll and have a new head coach this year in Tim Parenton.
Tanner Murphy paces the squad with a .304 batting average, three home runs and 15 RBI. Mac Wilson is next in batting at .286, while Alex Reynolds has a pair of homers and 11 runs batted in.
Here are the probable starting matchups for the midweek games:
- Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.: Owls - Senior RHP Marc Stewart (0-0, 0.00 ERA in three relief outings) vs. Ospreys - Sophomore RHP Cooper Bradford (1-0, 5.27 ERA)
- Wednesday, 4 p.m.: Owls - Sophomore RHP Nick Prather (0-2, 8.49 ERA) vs. Ospreys - Senior RHP Brad Deppermann (0-1, 7.50 ERA)
Despite the two teams' relatively close proximity, the Owls and Ospreys have only met up seven times previously. FAU holds a 5-2 edge, including winning each of the last four. The last two meetings were a similar two-game set at FAU Baseball Stadium, on March 3-4, 2015, with the Owls winning back-to-back one-run affairs, by scores of 8-7 (in 12 innings) and 3-2. UNF's two wins both came in the first series the two teams played, in Jacksonville, in 2006.
Both games will be live streamed on www.FAUSports.TV, with pregame coverage beginning at 6:20 and 3:50 p.m., respectively, on the two days. For tickets, call 1-866-FAU-OWLS or visit www.fausports.com/tickets/baseball-tickets.html.