Monday, April 20, 2009

FAU VS Miami Baseball's Friendly Rivalry

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH

Despite three losses to the University of Miami this season, the FAU Owls athletic department is extremely pleased it can keep the rivalry going on the baseball field and undoubtedly hopes this will eventually carry over to the gridiron.

In 2008, a crowd of 2,368 packed FAU Stadium as Miami won a 12-11 slug fest.

On March 25, another large crowd in Boca Raton attended as 1,682 watched the Hurricanes pound FAU 13-6.

The series resumed in Miami on April 7 as 1,862 watched the Hurricanes escape with an 8-7 triumph. Finally, on April 14, Miami held off FAU 3-1 at Mark Light Stadium as the Hurricanes swept the three game series with the Owls.

As competitive as the rivalry is on the field, the attendance figures show it's a win-win situation for both universities at the gate. It gives fans an opportunity to watch future professional players at programs with excellent traditions.

Hurricanes Coach Jim Morris said he's pleased with the rivalry and sees no reason to eliminate it especially since these meetings occur during the middle of the week therefore, it doesn't disrupt strong non-conference or conference opponents.

“It's a good series because a lot of these local players from both teams played each other growing up together and of course their Athletic Director Craig Angelos came from Miami along with coach (Howard) Schnellenberger,” Morris said. “There is a lot of people and connections back and forth so it is a good rivalry.”

Morris is pleased that the Hurricanes have a good following in North Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Back in the 1980's, the Hurricanes used to conduct a spring football practice event at Lockhart Stadium and used to draw large crowds.

“Last year, when we played them up here, it was the biggest crowd that they've ever had,” Morris added. “Tonight was a fun crowd that was enjoyable to watch.”

Morris said he has tremendous respect for the FAU baseball program because the Owls have an excellent tradition of its own.

“With Coach (Kevin) Cooney and now John McCormack, they've done an excellent job there,” Morris said. “It's been played on and off for a long time and I think it's one that needs to be played every year. You have local players, good baseball and there are a lot of good players in this area from both teams. For baseball this is a good rivalry and it's good playing each other and I think playing in all of the sports is good. I can't speak for football because it's up to them of course along with basketball and the other sports.”
Scott Morganroth can be reached at Scottsports33@aol.com.

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