BOCA RATON – Now that we’re entering the Top 10 in our countdown of the Top 25 FAU Games Ever Played, we’re going to change the format a bit. We’ll delve a little further into each game and implications.
We’ve also asked some guest contributors to provide the thoughts on the games and their rankings.
Entering the countdown at No. 10 is a game whose ranking in this spot will surely cause controversy.
No. 10 FAU Game Ever Played:
UNC 12, FAU Baseball 11 (13 inn, June 3, 2013)
The NCAA rewarded No. 23 FAU by shipping the Owls to the Chapel Hill regional, where the road to the super regional went through the North Carolina Tar Heels – the No. 1 team in the nation.
Simply to force a winner-take-all regional final against UNC the Owls needed Rickey Santiago’s three-run homer in the seventh to breakup the Heels no-hitter the night before, giving FAU a 3-2 victory.
FAU took a 2-1 lead in the second inning on a two-run Corey Keller homer.
North Carolina scored the next five runs and FAU trailed 6-2 entering the ninth. The Owls had already plated two runs and had the bases loaded when Tyler Rocklein blasted a Benton Moss offering over the center field wall for a no-doubt about it grand slam that left the Owls three outs from advancing to the second super regional in program history.
Rather than let ace Austin Gomber, who gave the Owls 1 1/3 relief innings two days after beating Canisius with 7 2/3 innings, return to the mound for the bottom of the ninth, FAU coach John McCormack called on proven closer Hugh Adams, who had pitched in both games the day prior and three times in three days. Adams promptly surrendered two runs, sending the game to extra innings.
The game remained tied at 6 into the 12th, when Levi Meyer launched a three-run homer that again put the Owls three outs away from advancing. But UNC struck for three runs in the bottom of the inning, and the game would have ended there had Geoff Jimenez not gunned down a runner at home.
The Tar Heels ended one of the most exciting games in the history over college baseball with a walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th. The game took nearly 5 hours to play, ending well after midnight.
Some, including broadcaster Ken LaVicka, will vehemently argue this game deserves to be higher on the countdown. An FAU win would have landed this game in the Top 5, possibly even the No. 1 spot. But FAU didn’t win. And there are games that followed – including some other baseball games – that had a greater effect on the program and athletic department. But, what a great game…
SHOULD RANK HIGHER – Ken LaVicka, FAU play-by-play broadcaster
Ok. … No. 10 on this Top 25 list isn’t doing nearly proper justice what happened in an epic contest that lasted into the early morning hours of Tuesday, June 4th, 2013.
Through some staff changes at FAU, I was handed the baseball play-by-play duties for FAU baseball’s trip to the Chapel Hill Regional three days before they began. I had no idea my rare and brief foray into John McCormack and Co.’s world would leave such a lasting impression. The fact that a Game 7 even happened was pure insanity considering that FAU knocked off the nation’s No. 1 team the night before after Ricky Santiago’s go-ahead 3-run homer in the 7th, THE OWLS FIRST HIT OF THE GAME, gave FAU the victory.
I’ll make it short and sweet. I’m on the cusp of 100 football broadcasts at FAU. I’ve called 300 FAU basketball games. “Game 7”, as it’s now called, against North Carolina is the single greatest game I’ve ever called in my broadcast career. The two-hour rain delay happened…then all hell broke loose. Tyler Rocklein’s go-ahead grand slam in the 9th, a no-doubter over everything in left-center, is quite possibly the most dramatic moment I’ve ever seen in person as a follower of sports. The fight to regain the lead in the 12th behind Levi Meyer’s 3-run homer, followed by Geoff Jimenez’s perfect throw from left in the bottom half of the inning to send it to the 13th, typified the massive heart of that 2013 Sun Belt championship club. No. 10? On THIS list maybe. For me? Move it up. Way up.
Previous FAU Top 25 Game Rankings