“I don’t really have a thought either way,” McCormack said a few hours before the Owls departed for Biloxi, Miss.
FAU (36-15-1, 19-8-1) split games with FIU (26-26, 15-13) three weekends ago – the Sunday game canceled because of rain.
The Panthers won four of five games since.
“I thought they were a good team – much improved from last year,” McCormack said. “I liked their team. I like the way those guys play offensively. They’ve got a chance to score runs and runs in a bunch. Starting pitching is pretty good. They have a deep bullpen. They have a lot of guys back there. We’ve just got to be ready and got to be good.”
Shoulder tendinitis kept FAU ace Jake Miednik from pitching against FIU. He returned to the Owls’ rotation in Thursday’s victory over Western Kentucky and will get the ball on Wednesday at 10 a.m. against the Panthers.
“He’s our guy,” McCormack said. “That’s our first game. He’s going our first game.”
A benefit of having Miednik throw on Wednesday is that he could possibly be available for a couple innings on Sunday should the Owls reach the championship game.
His return, along with the return of Mark Nowatnick, give the Owls depth on the mound at a time when pitching is at a premium.”
“What it does when you get that Friday night guy back, everybody feels way better about themselves,” McCormack said. “Everybody else slides back a spot some where they are more comfortable or were comfortable, so it’s important.”
The pitching plans beyond that are a little murkier. Vince Coletti, Mark Nowatnick or Blake Sanderson could get the ball depending on whether the Owls face Louisiana Tech or No. 7 Rice.
“Thursday we’re going to do a match-up thing – see who it is,” McCormack said.
FAU enters the C-USA tournament as its No. 3 seed, passed by Louisiana Tech on the final day of the regular season. The Bulldogs claimed the No. 2 seed in walk-off fashion on Saturday, while rain robbed the Owls of a chance to add one more victory to their resume.
Even with the third place finish, McCormack believes the Owls are well positioned to gain an at-large NCAA tournament bid should they not claim Conference USA’s automatic berth that comes with a C-USA tournament title.
The Owls have already surpassed last year’s win total and hold an RPI of 31. Two more wins could push that RPI back into the 20s.
“I think we’re good,” McCormack said. “Our RPI is good. Strength of schedule is good. We finished relatively good in a good league. I think we’re in good position. I would be really nervous if we go out there and kind of lay an egg, so to speak. If we go our there and kind of go 2-2 and we lose out in the semifinals I’ll feel good about it.”