At noon on Sunday FAU will send Mike Ruff, the Owls’ normal Saturday starter, to the mound to face the loser of the No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 3 Florida St. game played Saturday night. Should the Owls win game, they will then play the winner of the Georgia/FSU game at 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Winning both of those games would force a regional deciding game on Monday.
Bobby Morgensen smacked two homers for the second consecutive day and robbed a home run with a leaping catch at the right field wall to lead the Owls.
Already leading 1-0, Morgensen’s two-run homer in the fourth gave the Owls some breathing room. His second homer, this one of the three-run variety, came as part of a five-run seventh for the Owls. Morgensen’s five RBI tied a career high.
Freshman Jacoby Josey delivered the best start of his FAU career, shutting out the Bears for seven innings by allowing only four hits and walking four.
“Well, before the game started I asked Jacob Josey to throw a shutout and he responded, so coaching is easy,” McCormack said with a laugh. “He pitched fantastic, under not such an easy situation.”
McCormack lifted Josey following the seventh, the righty having thrown 106 pitches. That’s when the game turned chaotic.
In an effort to save some its better relievers for upcoming contents FAU turned to some of its lesser-effective relievers to mop up the game. McCormack even replaced a couple of regulars in the field.
Kel Johnson greeted FAU reliever Dylan Carter by blasting the first pitch over the left-center field wall for the Bears first run. Carter surrendered hits to the next three batters and exited without recording an out. Micheal Schuler followed and while he did record an out, he also surrendered two more hits and walked one before being pulled.
McCormack turned to senior Nick Swan, who enjoyed some of the most successful outings of his career over past couple of weeks. The lefty recorded the final two outs of the eighth, limiting Mercer to five runs in the frame.
Swan’s second inning didn’t go nearly as well. Collin Price led off the inning by smashing a Swan offering off the batter’s eye beyond the center field wall. After a single and and a strikeout, Swan hit David Posas with a pitch, prompting McCormack to bring in closer Zach Schneider,
The senior promptly induced a game-ending double play to record save number 16 of the season. With the save Schneider tied Hugh Adams for most career saves by an Owl with 31.
“It got a little hairy at the end, we had to use Swan and Schneider which is not ideal, but at this point it is win and move on,” McCormack said.