The Owls went 35-22 on the season and 21-10 in the Sun Belt conference. Their home record was also 21-10, while they were 11-9 on the road and 3-3 at neutral sites.
TALE OF THE SEASON: Florida Atlantic picked up wins at a steady pace this season, winning their conference by one game after winning nine of ten series'.
Their longest winning streak was six games in mid-April, and they went on a four game skid at the beginning of April.
NON-CONFERENCE PLAY: FAU played a tough non-conference schedule, with teams such as Florida, Miami, Rutgers, and Boston College. In order to get out of this regional they'll need to be able to play with the likes of Miami and Florida, but in the five games they played against those two teams, the combined score was 38-13 in favor of the powerhouses.
SUN BELT SEASON: Florida Atlantic was steady all throughout Sun Belt play, winning every series except one, against Middle Tennessee State. FAU swept both Arkansas State and Western Kentucky. The Sun Belt conference has the sixth best RPI in the nation this season (which is good), and is sending three teams to the tournament. FAU's strength of schedule ranks at #62, which isn't bad for a Sun Belt team.
SUN BELT TOURNAMENT: The Owls, the No. 1 seed in the tournament, opened with a 9-8 win over Western Kentucky in 13 innings. Florida Atlantic led 5-1 at one point, but WKU stormed back to tie the game and send it into extra innings. As if that wasn't enough, the Hilltoppers scored two in the top of the 13th inning to break the tie and make the score 8-6. Needing a miracle, FAU got it-- as Mike Albaladego hit a walk-off three-run home run.
Things weren't any easier for FAU in the second game of the tournament against South Alabama. FAU built a 10-4 lead, but South Alabama came storming back to come within one. South Alabama needed four runs to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth but only got three, and Florida Atlantic advanced into the finals of the tournament.
The finals were where Florida Atlantic ran into media magnet that is Garrett Wittels and Florida International. Wittels went 3-for-6 to keep his 50+ game hitting streak alive, and FIU won 18-16... again, in extra innings. Florida International would wind up beating the Owels again to come back from the consolation bracket to win the Sun Belt tournament... and more importantly, keep Garret Wittels season alive for another weekend. Because that's what really matters. Right, ESPN?
Oregon State squares off with the Owls in Game 1 of the Gainesville Regional on Friday at 10am PT. Check out the complete regional bracket.
--Jake | (firstname.lastname@example.org)