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Mace & Crown | March 23, 2018

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Monarch Baseball Falls to No. 17 FAU

Monarch Baseball Falls to No. 17 FAU
Matt O’Brien
Sports Editor

After losing a hard-fought 10-7 game on Friday night, ODU baseball took on No.17 Florida Atlantic at home on Saturday. FAU (20-4) came out on top over the Monarchs (19-10) 3-1. The team’s offense was held to just three hits, the fewest in a game this season. FAU cut a seventh inning rally just short.

“Their starter was doing a great job mixing his breaking ball, and we weren’t doing a whole lot with him,” head Coach Chris Finwood said.

The Owls starter Marc Stewart turned in a stellar performance on the mound, going seven innings. Stewart had a no hitter bid going until the seventh inning, while also striking out five.

Victor Diaz was saddled with the loss for the Monarchs and is now 3-2 on the year. Diaz settled down after struggling early. One hanging, breaking ball proved to be the difference after he gave up a two-run home run to FAU’s CJ Chattam.

“I was really proud of Vic Diaz. He was kind of laboring early. He hung one breaking ball Chattam hit out, but he gutted it out for us after that and kept us in the game,” Finwood said.

The Monarchs went three up, three down for four straight innings. The offensive struggles were uncharacteristic of the Monarch team, which averages five runs a game.

The momentum finally shifted in the seventh inning and a career milestone was reached by shortstop Zack Rutherford. Rutherford crushed a ball off the center field fence. A misstep by FAU’s outfield and hustle from Rutherford attributed to an inside-the-park home run. The homer, while unorthodox, was the first of his career.

“He hit it really well. The wind was blowing out, and I thought it might actually get out of the park,” Finwood said.

A single by Kurt Sinnen kept the pressure on, and it seemed the Monarchs were going to come surging back. Will Morgan came in as a pinch-hitter and doubled down the line. Unfortunately, the ball skipped over the wall. The ground rule double forced Sinnen to stay at third keeping the lead at two.

Reliever Morgan Maguire shut FAU down in the eighth inning, but it wasn’t enough. One of the C-USA’s top closers Cameron Ragsdale got his eighth save of the season. Ragsdale secured the win by striking out Turner Bishop.

“This is a great FAU team and we have played them hard. We still have plenty of season in front of us and now everyone else has to play them,” Finwood said.

Monarch Baseball is back in action Wednesday at the Bud. They take on William & Mary.