But another first put FAU baseball on the map.
In 1999, FAU’s sixth season in Division I, the Owls — then known as the Blue Wave — won the Trans America Athletic Conference (now Atlantic Sun) and advanced to the NCAA Regionals for the first time in DI.
They also accomplished something that had been done only once before.
FAU won 34 consecutive games that season, matching the Division I record set by Texas in 1977.
After winning its first six games, FAU lost 3-2 at Miami on Feb. 17. The Blue Wave didn’t lose again until April 17, the day after beating Jacksonville University 13-8 in the first game of a three-game series. JU ended FAU’s streak at 34 with a 2-1 victory in Jacksonville.
“It’s pretty impressive that we were able to pull this off,” head coach Kevin Cooney told the South Florida Sun Sentinel after the game. “It’s going to be difficult for anybody to do because of the parity in college baseball today. But I think for our program, it kind of puts us on the map at a national level. The exposure the past two weeks has been phenomenal.”
In fact, the feat hasn’t been equaled in Division I since. Savannah State set the Division II standard with a 46-game winning streak in 2000 and Trinity College won 44 in row in 2008 to set the Division III record.
The longest winning streaks in Major League Baseball are 21 games by the Chicago Cubs (National League) in 1935 and 20 games by the Oakland A’s (American League) in 2002.
After losing to JU, FAU reeled off a six-game winning streak for a 46-2 record. The Owls, behind All-Americans Dickie Hart, Dan Jackson and ace pitcher Todd Moser, finished 54-9, the best record in school history.
Moser’s 15-0 regular-season record led the nation. He also posted a 2.34 ERA with 130 strikeouts in 103.2 innings.
FAU reached the NCAA Regional final against No. 1-ranked Miami after eliminating Bethune-Cookman and Florida International. But the eventual national champion Hurricanes again beat FAU 3-2 to advance.
Cooney led FAU back to the regionals four more times, winning the regional championship in 2002 before losing to Georgia Tech in the Super Regionals. He retired following the 2008 season with a 742-480-5 record in 21 seasons at FAU, having guided the program from Division II to Division I.
FAU returned to the NCAA Regionals in 2010, 2013 and 2015-16 under John McCormack, Cooney’s successor and former associate head coach for 18 years.
But the 34-game winning streak stands as the sports moment judged the greatest in FAU history.
“I think it’s something that you can look back on the rest of your life and pass on to your children,” Cooney said. “This is what I did, what I was part of. That’s what everybody wants, to leave some sort of legacy. And I think our kids have done that for ourselves.”
THIS WEEK’S GREATEST MOMENTS
• Monday: Drexel and Duquesne
• Tuesday: East Carolina and East Tennessee State
• Wednesday: Eastern Illinois and Eastern Kentucky
• Thursday: Eastern Michigan and Elon
• Friday: Ferris State and Florida Atlantic