CORAL GABLES — Before the 2013 regular season began, FAU coach John McCormack said that the Owls needed to be exceptional in their non-conference play — specifically the mid-week games, to be invited to the NCAA tournament.
The Owls' 15-9 record heading into Wednesday's game at Miami didn't leave much room for future error, and FAU responded to the pressure with a 6-1 win over the Hurricanes at Mark Light Field behind a three-run, sixth inning home run by Robert Buckley — his first of the season — and a hodgepodge of pitchers who combined to scatter only seven hits.
Miami has work to do as well. The loss was Miami's second straight, and only its 11th in program history to the South Florida rival.
"It's a very disappointing game for me," Morris said. "We have to swing the bat better, They had a lot of guys throw, and we didn't hit any of them. We didn't hit the ball hard... you can't put the pressure on pitcher that they have to shut everybody out."
At the same time Miami starter Javi Salas was "very average." Salas has now lost his last three decisions. He allowed three runs, one earned, in five innings Wednesday.
The Hurricanes and Owls traded first-inning runs, with FAU going ahead on unearned runs stemming from an error by Miami shortstop Brandon Lopez. The fifth-inning "E6" on a routine chopper to his left was his team-leading eighth error of the season.
Buckley's home run off of Eric Whaley busted the game open, and Kevin Alexander weaseled his way out a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the 7th to squash Miami's only opportunity to tighten the scoreline.
The Hurricanes offense was again without freshman phenom David Thompson, who has not started four of the last five games.
Morris said that Thompson will travel with the Hurricanes when they take on 23-2 Virginia in Charlottesville this weekend, but he wouldn't commit to the first-baseman playing.
Thompson had off-season right shoulder surgery before enrolling at Miami, and its soreness in that shoulder that is keeping him out of the lineup. Morris said that such soreness is normal.
Thompson took batting practice before Wednesday's game, but Morris said he was not at 100 percent, so he did not play.
"We've got to have him hot and in the middle of the order," Morris said. "We've got to have somebody hot in the order right now."