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Brandon Rhodes will get his second mid-week start of the year on Tuesday against FGCU. (OwlAccess.com file photo)

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No easy task

The Owls knew they had a tough early season schedule and No. 25 Florida Gulf Coast doesn't provide a break from that gauntlet.

Originally published on 2/26/2013

by Chuck King

Prior to the start of the season, it looked like FAU might receive a bit of a break on Tuesday when the Owls play Florida Gulf Coast.

The Eagles, after all, don't have the name recognition of Miami and Alabama, the Owls previous two opponents, or of Coastal Carolina (which reached a Super Regional in 2010 and has become an annual tournament participant), North Carolina St. and West Virginia, which the Owls will play in a tournament this weekend.

Prior to the season, though, FAU coach John McCormack warned anyone who would listen not to sleep on FGCU. Following the Eagles' sweep of No. 13 Florida this past weekend, consider his Owls sufficiently awake.

“It's the age-old thing - you get schools like that and they put together really good teams but don't get the recognition they deserve,” McCormack said. “I think the casual fan might look and say, Oh. it's (only) Florida Gulf Coast, but they are a very good program.”

A week ago the Owls hoped they might be in a similar position to the Eagles. FAU looked at a midweek game against Miami as winnable and figured they could make a national splash with multiple victories over an SEC team.

But after losing the Miami game late and dropping the first two games of the weekend to Alabama, FAU needed a stellar outing from Jeremy Strong to salvage a win from the week.

“This was a big gut check day,” McCormack said. “It's always good to get a win off any one of the SEC schools because of the RPI implications going forward.”

The Owls would also stand to get an RPI bump with a victory over Florida Gulf Coast, which debuted at No. 25 in Monday's Collegiate Baseball poll and are the favorite to win the Atlantic Sun Conference bid.

To deliver that victory McCormack is turning to freshman lefty Brandon Rhodes who allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings against Miami.

McCormack may also introduce a couple new faces into an FAU batting order that only produced one  extra base hit over the weekend.

“I have to make sure that our guys understand the importance of Tuesday, which they do,” McCormack said.

@
  Florida Gulf Coast (5-1, 0-0 A-Sun)
at
FAU (4-3, 0-0 Sun Belt)

  • When: Tuesday 6:30 p.m.
  • Where: FAU Baseball Stadium, Boca Raton, Fl.
  • Radio: None
  • Streaming audio: FAUSports.com,
  • Scouting the opponent: FGCUAthletics.com

Pitching Probables: FGCU TBA vs. FAU LHP Brandon Rhodes (0-0, 2.45)

About the Eagles: Brooks Beisner, who has started all six games, leads the Eagles with a .520 average and has smacked five home runs. ...The Eagles aren't much of a threat to run, having been thrown out on three of their four attempts. ...Four of Sean Dwyer's hits have gone for extra bases.

About the Owls: Mitch Morales may have started the season struggling on defense, but his bat has been hot. He leads FAU regulars with a .400 batting average. ...Newcomers Levi Meyer and Tyler Rocklein have the Owls' only home runs. They have one each. ...FAU coach John McCormack would like to get pitcher Kevin Alexander some work on Tuesday. Heading into the season Alexander was a candidate to be a weekend starter.

 

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