Friday night starter Jake Miednik and catcher Pedro Pages will not play in this weekend’s series at Florida International, an FAU spokesperson told OwlAccess.com.
The shoulder stiffness that kept Miednik from making his Friday start at Rice two weekends ago re-appeared this week, prompting FAU to skip his turn in the rotation this weekend.
Miednik did pitch in relief during Sunday’s series finale at Rice, and is coming off one of the best starts of his career this past week, having limited UAB to two runs on seven to improve to 6-1 on the season in the Owls’ lone win of the weekend.
Without Miednik, Vince Coletti will make the Friday start. The right-hander began the season as FAU’s Sunday starter, but moved up to Saturday when the Owls lost starter Kyle Marman for the season to an elbow injury. Mark Nowatnick took over Coletti’s Sunday spot, but he had to leave his start at Rice with an oblique strain and hasn’t pitched since.
Following Sunday’s loss to UAB FAU coach John McCormack wasn’t optimistic that Nowatnick would be available for this weekend, and FAU is officially listing both Saturday’s and Sunday’s starters as “TBD.”
Pages originally injured his left wrist on Saturday while swinging the bat. He left that game early and didn’t play Sunday or in Tuesday’s loss at UCF.
The immediate fear among the FAU coaching staff was that Pages had broken a bone in his wrist, which could end his season.
He visited a doctor on Monday, when X-rays were taken, but the Owls have yet to release findings from those X-rays. Pages will seek a second opinion in the coming days.
Without Pages in the lineup, the Owls will be missing one of their most potent bats. The Owls’ cleanup hitter is hitting .312 with four homers and 31 RBI – the latter number being second only to Eric Rivera at FAU. With Pages out of the lineup on Tuesday, manager John McCormack elevated Rivera to the cleanup spot.
Primary catching duties this weekend at FIU will go to Kevin Abraham. The senior was prepared to be the Owls’ starting catcher in 2016 but missed the entire season after being diagnosed with cancer. Abraham is hitting .143 with two homers and nine RBI in limited action this season.
With Abraham out of action in 2016, Gunnar Lambert caught in 36 games. Lambert, however, missed all of 2017 because of a knee injury. He’s primarily played first base this season, but did catch the final two innings of Sunday’s game and an inning on Tuesday, giving him a total of four innings behind the plate this year. Lambert’s .203 average this season isn’t much better than Abraham’s but he does have seven home runs.
“Now we have at least a second catcher,” FAU coach John McCormack said.
FAU enters the weekend alone in Conference USA’s third place with a 14-6-1 record in C-USA play. The Owls have lost a season-high three consecutive games and four of their last five.
FIU sits in a tie for seventh with Western Kentucky, sporting a 10-11 record in conference play. The Panthers swept Marshall last weekend before losing midweek games to Stetson and Florida Gulf Coast.
Despite its recent struggles FAU can clinch a spot in the C-USA tournament with a sweep of FIU.