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Diamond Diary by Kevin Cooney

March 25, 2003

Back From Bama...Crushed Crimson..."Friendraise" and Fundraise

We lost last Friday to Jacksonville St for the first time in fourteen games. It took two errors, a fortuitous carom back to the catcher, a diving catch by an outfielder, a base hit on a pitch a foot above the strike zone, and some outstanding pitching by Jax St to beat us. Our usual post game meal in the little Greek restaurant on the square was not as enjoyable as the others we have had. Danny Core lowered his conference leading ERA to 1.31. He has stuck out 51 hitters in 48 innings, while walking only 7. Fiorentino had a big home run to tie things up for us. Ich (Fiorentino)is having a great year. He leads the A-Sun in most hitting categories.

We need to get some sweeps on these weekends, but every team seems to have at least one good pitcher. Another factor is that conference teams seem to be especially jacked up to play a Florida school. The four of us have been at the top of the conference most years, so beating any of us is a big win. Jax St had some kids going crazy after the win. I don't blame them. It was an exciting game, and a good win for them.

Saturday was warmer, and our pitchers were hot. Randy Beam threw a seven inning one hitter and was in control the entire way. This seems to be a pattern for Beam this year. He has pitched well each time out. Chris Pillsbury threw a strong five innings in the nightcap. This was the best from Chris this season. He made only one bad pitch and it got hit over the fence for the Gamecocks' only earned run of the weekend.

We hit the ball well on Saturday. Shaen O'Connor made the most of his start in place of Mike Murray. Shaen was three-for-five with five RBIs and two doubles. Mike twisted his back Friday night but will be fine for the Samford series. We all said a Hail Mary for Cox as he stepped in for his first at bat. I don't believe in praying for wins, (God has a lot on His plate these days) but Mike is a good kid and has been struggling. Bang! Mike got a big RBI hit! Pillsbury has also struggled, so when he took the mound in the first, we repeated the prayer. The Blessed Mother must be a baseball fan, as Chris pitched his best game this season.

FAU 15 Harvard 6

The Crimson came to town last night. It was supposed to be tonight, but they had a scheduling snafu with FIU, and we were nice enough to move the game to Monday. We were not so nice to their pitchers. Our guys pounded out fifteen runs on eighteen hits. Mike Cox was 3-4 with 3 RBIs, a double and a laser-like home run. No prayers this night; at least not from our dugout. O'Connor stayed hot. Shaen was 3-5 with 2 RBIs and two more doubles. Rusty Brown hit a bomb as Coach Mac was suggesting he bunt for a hit. Rusty just missed two more as he twice drove the Harvard guys to the fence. Ich was 3-5 with an opposite field home run, his tenth of the season. Tim Mascia was 3-3. Life is not supposed to be this easy for freshmen. Gerber again has his average up to .500.

Baseball America moved us up to 18 in their Top 25. I think they like us because we have a good number of pro prospects on the team. Their opinion is slanted more towards the pro side. Maybe it's because John Manuel attended Spanish River HS. I always tell him that was a disadvantage because his frame of reference was FAU back in the DII days. Collegiate Baseball has us at #31. They say we have only beaten FIU and our losses to Gardner-Webb, Jax St and Eastern Michigan are hurting us. All I know is that we are third in the nation in wins. The ESPN Coaches' Poll also has us at #31.

I told our kids that we can afford three more losses in order to give us the best chance at an at large NCAA bid. We need some sweeps! My wife told me that last year at this stage we were 23-6, so we are on pace for a good year, but the key is to sweep when you should and take two out of three, three times. That leaves the Miami game as a real important one. More on that later.

"Friendraise and Fundraise...

The Athletic Department will kick off a membership drive for The Owl Club on Saturday,prior to our game against Samford. There will be a barbeque and some speakers. All fans are invited. The goal is to enroll as many members in the club as we can in the next month. FAU Athletics is an exciting thing to be involved in. Our kids are great people and they always play hard. Our teams are trying to break into that higher echelon of NCAA competition. But we need your help. There is no college program in America that can succeed independent of outside fan, and financial support. Your membership at the $100 level enables you to designate your gift to the sport of your choice. I assure you your help is desperately needed to help baseball continue its move to national prominence. I am asking all of you out there who follow our team on these pages, to mail a check for at least $100 to Kevin Cooney FAU 777 Glades Rd. Boca Raton Florida 33341. Make your check payable to FAU Foundation, Inc. Please be sure to put Owl Club/Baseball in the memo portion of the check. If you will be in town, please try to be here by noon on Saturday for the barbeque, followed by our doubleheader with Samford. Club brochures will be available at the barbeque. Thanks. I know you won't let us down. KC



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