Cajuns, Owls Battle in Boca This Weekend
Louisiana's Ragin' Cajuns stumbled at home last weekend and now have a formidable task at hand as they travel to Boca Raton, FL to take on the Florida Atlantic Owls in a three-game Sun Belt Conference baseball series.
Gametimes this weekend are Friday at 5:30, Saturday at 3pm and Sunday at noon (all times Central). All three games can be heard on espn1420 and News/Talk 96.5 KPEL.
The Cajuns (13-11, 3-3 Sun Belt) have lost three straight games for the second time this season, after dropping the final two games of their league series with Arkansas State last weekend at M. L. "Tigue" Moore Field, followed by a 5-0 loss to #15 LSU on Wednesday night.
Florida Atlantic (16-10, 5-1) will play its first home conference series, after sweeping FIU in Miami and winning two of three at Middle Tennessee State last weekend.
FAU has gotten to the top through the strength of its pitching staff. The Owls allowed only five earned runs in the three games against the Blue Raiders in Murfreesboro last weekend. FAU has gotten it done with both their starting pitching and their bullpen. The Owls are 15-0 when leading after seven innings.
FAU has won despite losing two key players to injury. Right Fielder Alex Hudak has missed the last sixteen games after breaking his ankle earlier in the season. Hudak was hitting .421 with four homers at the time of the injury. Outfielder Nathan Pittman has also been out of the lineup for twelve games after pulling his hamstring. Pittman may return to action this weekend.
But the news isn't all good for John McCormack's pitching staff. Righthander Kevin Alexander (4-0, 2.01 ERA) will not pitch this weekend due to soreness in his elbow. Alexander, a reshirt sophomore, missed last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. As a result, FAU is listed as TBA as far as a Saturday start is concerned. McCormack says he will not move up Sunday starter Austin Gomber (2-1, 2.45), but will choose between Bo Logan, Jake Meiers and Josh Gonzaga.
One thing is certain. Ryan Garton will be the Friday night starter. Garton (4-2, 2.09) has been the Friday stalwart since last season. He suffered a hard luck defeat at the hands of Middle Tennessee last Friday.
Garton will be opposed by the Cajuns' Jordan Nicholson (3-1, 3.22). Nicholson has won both of his conference starts, besting two of the league's better pitchers in Randy Zeigler of ULM and Jacob Lee of Arkansas State.
Junior lefty Chris Griffitt (3-2, 4.33) will start for the Cajuns on Saturday and Louisiana is TBA for Sunday's game.
For FAU game notes, click here.
For Louisiana game notes, click here.