April 30, 2018
BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Coming off a series loss in the first time for over a month, the Florida Atlantic University baseball team hopes to right things with the first of four straight games on the road taking place Tuesday night in Orlando at UCF. First pitch will be at 6:30 p.m.
The Owls (30-12-1) fell in a home midweek to Florida Gulf Coast, and lost two of three to UAB, dropping to third in the Conference USA standings (but, at 14-6-1, just percentage points behind 15-6 LA Tech). UCF (29-15) took the Sunday game and series over Wichita State to move to .500, 9-9, in American Athletic Conference play. They are fifth in their league ledger with six AAC games left.
The Knights are led offensively in pretty much every category by sophomore first baseman Rylan Thomas. He ranks among the nation's leaders in batting average (.390, 23rd), home runs (12, 25th), RBI (51, 16th), on-base (.485, 24th) and slugging (.677, 24th). Perfect Game/Rawlings named him Second Team Midseason All-American at the beginning of the month.
Tuesday's starting pitching matchup will be sophomore righthander Mike Ruff for FAU against UCF's Luis Ferrer, a redshirt junior lefthander. Ruff (1-2, 3.62 ERA) will be making his sixth start of the season. Opposing batters are hitting a team-low .207 against him, and he has 29 strikeouts in 24 innings. For Ferrer (0-0, 0.82), it will be his first start this year, after 11 relief outings, spanning 11 innings pitched. He has given up just one run on eight hits, with one walk and seven strikeouts.
A year ago, FAU took the home-and-home sweep over the Knights, 8-3 in Orlando and 9-4 in West Palm Beach. All-time, UCF holds a 42-33 advantage, though the most recent stretch has FAU winning seven of nine.
After a weekend set also away, at FIU, the Owls return to host UCF a week from Tuesday in West Palm Beach at The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. To buy tickets, call 1-866-FAU-OWLS or log on to www.fausports.com/tickets/baseball-tickets.html.