July 27, 2012
Boca Raton, FL - Any championship season is filled with many dramatic moments and fantastic finishers. That certainly was the case for the 2012 Florida Atlantic University baseball team as it captured the Sun Belt Conference's regular-season title -- the Owls' second league crown in the last three seasons.
FAU compiled a 32-22 record, marking the 14th consecutive winning season for the program. The team had a 19-8 mark in SBC play.
FAUSports.com will conduct a top-10 countdown of the season highlights. A look back at the prior highlights on the list include Dylan Seigel's offensive outburst against South Alabama on April 7 (No. 9) and Mike Spano's run-scoring walk-off single against Western Kentucky University on May 4 (No. 10).
The countdown continues with senior right hander Ryan Garton, who led the pitching staff and earned all-conference honors.
The Scene: Starting his collegiate career as a pitcher/outfielder for the Owls, Garton started the third conference game of the 2010 season and became the No. 1 starting pitcher for the next three seasons. He won 20 games in his career, including nine this season, and ranked among the SBC leaders in wins, earned run average, innings and strikeouts. The New Port Richey native started the last 36 regular-season series openers during his career.
Supporting Information: Garton set the tone for the 2012 season by recording seven strikeouts and one earned run over six innings in his debut -- a 5-2 road win at the University of Alabama on February 17. The victory started a weekend sweep by FAU over the Southeastern Conference team. Garton followed with two more outings with at least seven strikeouts during the non-conference wins over Manhattan College and Rutgers University. He then opened league play by tossing seven scoreless innings and having eight strikeouts in a 5-1 victory at FIU, and followed with victories over University of Louisiana-Lafayette, South Alabama, Louisiana-Monroe and Troy University.
The Play: Garton led Florida Atlantic to another important road victory at Troy University, matching a season-high eight strikeouts (and only four walks) in a 7-3 victory. It was the only victory for the Owls in the three-game series and helped keep the team atop the Sun Belt Conference standings. Heroics against the Trojans were nothing new for Garton. He came in relief to lead the team to an important come-from-behind victory at Troy in FAU's 2010 regular-season championship season.
Key Stat: The right hander struck out seven or more batters in seven of his 15 starts during his senior season. He was selected in the 34th round of this year's Major League Baseball Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. Garton has carried his success over to the professional ranks having a 2-0 record with one save in eight relief appearances for the Hudson Valley Renegades (N.Y.) of the Class A Short Season New York-Penn League.
Schedule of 2012 FAU Baseball Highlight Countdown:
No. 8 - Garton's Pitching Consistency
No. 7 - July 30
No. 6 - August 1
No. 5 - August 3
No. 4 - August 6
No. 3 - August 8
No. 2 - August 10
No. 1 - August 13