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USF-FAU NCAA Baseball Preview: Five Questions With FAU Owl Access

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We did a quick A & A with Chuck King of FAU Owl Access to talk about his team and the opening game of the NCAA Regionals for USF Baseball.

GoUSFBulls.com

Thanks to Chuck for the time. We also did one with him about the Bulls that you can check out here.

1. What can we expect from Drew Jackson (assuming he's the starter on Friday)? What's his best pitch and how has he reacted to pressure previously?

Jackson is getting the ball on Friday. He's coming off what was almost a masterpiece. The righty struck out 12 and held UAB scoreless through 8 1/3 in the C-USA tournament before allowing a single and a walk-off homer. He missed three starts with arm soreness earlier in the season and that UAB start was his first full outing since returning. He sports a fastball that can get into the mid 90s and a good, hard slider. Though statistically the Owls best pitcher most of the season, he was actually the Saturday starter. This will be the senior's first NCAA tournament appearance.

2. Your team OPS is .840 with 39 home runs this season. Who are the players Jimmy Herget will need to be careful with?

The short answer to that is "all of them." The Owls' offense has been so strong this season because the first eight batters in their line-up were above the .300 mark for most of the season, so it's hard for a pitcher to relax. Conference USA Player of the Year Brendon Sanger leads the way with a .372 average. Sanger actually drew 51 walks this year, pushing his OBP to .491. Outfield mate and fellow left handed hitter Roman Collins led the Owls with 53 RBI. Ricky Santiago hits cleanup, between Sanger and Collins. Santiago underwent open heart surgery last summer. He responded by hitting .317 with a team-high eight homers.

3. You've lost 6 of 10, and probably played your way out of a national seed down the stretch. Was this injuries or just baseball being somewhat random? What happened late in the season?

FAU is as healthy as its been all season. During that final stretch the Owls ran into a hot Rice team that's a perennial power. The Owls also lost a game to Miami, which is hosting a regional. The two losses to UAB in the C-USA tournament came to hot pitchers. It will be interesting to see how the Owls' offense responds against Jimmy Herget.

4. If Jackson can't go the route, who are the arms you'll turn to first? NCAA Tournaments often turn on speedy pinch-runners and bullpen... who are those guys for you?

Bo Logan started the year as the Owls' closer but lost the job after a rough stretch during the season. He's pitched well of late and FAU coach John McCormack likes to use him in high leverage situations. Seth McGarry is now the Owls' closer and is the more prototypical guy for the role. Has fastball can get to the upper 90s and McCormack isn't afraid to use him for more than three outs. The rest of the Owls' pen has been solid, allowing McCormack to mix and match as he pleases.

5. How pissed are you not to be hosting?

A lot of websites had FAU hosting a regional, but I never thought that would happen. FAU simply doesn't have the facilities right now to host. There was talk of FAU being a No. 1 seed in someone else's regional, but the Owls knew they would probably have to win the C-USA tournament to make that happen. FAU would have liked to play in a regional outside of Florida, but with three Florida schools hosting they knew that wouldn't happen. At this point, there's not much talk that FAU should have been a host or should be in a different region. Everyone's pretty much accepted the situation and preparing to play.