Baseball’s Valiant Season Closes at Regional
June 5, 2016
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – One of the best stories of the year in collegiate sports concluded on Sunday as the No. 17 Florida Atlantic University baseball team was eliminated from the Coral Gables Regional following a 5-1 loss to Long Beach State.
The 2016 Conference USA regular-season champions, the Owls finish the year with a 39-19 overall record and their 12th NCAA Regional appearance.
“Congratulations to Long Beach State,” FAU Head Coach John McCormack said. “I thought that they played really well—clean baseball game. They pitched exceptionally well. They got the hits when they need them. Congratulations to them. I thought our guys battled, but we just came up short. It was a fantastic year, but we’ll be back.”
In his final career outing, senior Brandon Rhodes dealt a complete game for FAU, his second complete game of the year. Rhodes struck out five and retired 14 of the last 15 batters he faced, but two early strikes by LBSU led to a loss for the southpaw.
A hit batter and three singles sparked a two-run rally for the Dirtbags in the bottom of the first for an early lead.
After battling to a full count to lead off the third, Lambert belted a double to right center and advanced to third on a flyout. The sophomore sprinted across the plate on an LBSU wild pitch to slice the lead in half.
Following back-to-back singles to lead off the third, LBSU’s Daniel Jackson lifted a three-run homer over the left field wall to take the momentum away with the Owls, now in a four-run deficit.
Esteban Puerta was hit by a pitch to lead off the fourth and moved to third as Langham followed with a double. However, two consecutive infield grounders and a flyout stifled the FAU threat.
Puerta and Langham again reached to lead off the top of the ninth inning before a new pitcher for the Dirtbags dealt a strikeout and coaxed a double play to end the game.
FAU will lose six seniors (Rhodes, Dicks, Billy Endris, Devon Carr and Robbie Coursel) and have multiple players with potential to be selected in the upcoming MLB Draft. Full coverage will be provided on FAUSports.com.
Story by: fausports.com
Photo credit: FAU Baseball/Twitter