BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Former Florida Atlantic University pitcher Austin Gomber recently made his Major League Baseball debut with the St. Louis Cardinals, becoming the 10th Owl to appear in a big league game in program history.
Gomber pitched for FAU from 2012-2014, and was drafted by St. Louis in the fourth round of the '14 draft, advancing to AA last year. The lefthander was added to the 40-man roster this offseason, appeared in Major League camp with the team this spring, and made his AAA debut for the Memphis Redbirds on April 7.
After four starts, including an eight-inning, zero-run, 16-strikeout affair on April 23, the southpaw received a call-up on April 29, staying with the parent club for five days, but not appearing in a game. He then started five more games with the Redbirds, with the last two a combined 14 innings, one run and 15 strikeouts, resulting in another call from the Cardinals on May 31.
This time, it only took two days for Gomber to make his official debut, coming on against the Pittsburgh Pirates on June 2 in St. Louis. With the Cardinals leading, but just by a score of 2-1, he was called on in relief in the sixth, and pitched three scoreless innings. Against nine batters, he threw 32 pitches, 20 for strikes, issued a walk that would be erased on a double play, and struck out two Pirates.
The Winter Garden, Florida native becomes the second former Owl to ever pitch for the Cardinals, with Carmen Cali appearing in 16 games for the club in 2004 and 2005. The last FAU player to make his MLB debut was Ryan Garton, on May 26, 2016, while Jeff Beliveau joins Gomber as former Owls to appear in a Major League game this season, having been up and down with the Indians as a member of their bullpen these last two months. All told, in addition to Gomber, Garton and Beliveau (and not counting the six Owl players just taken in this week's MLB draft), there are six other FAU baseball alums in Major League organizations currently: R.J. Alvarez, CJ Chatham, Alex House, Seth McGarry, David McKay and Brendon Sanger.