FAU is back in the “Big Dance” — the NCAA baseball tournament where the Owls are the No. 2-seed in the Gainesville Regional, and while defense wins championships, FAU has been led this year by the offense of their star right fielder.
Brendon Sanger had an on base percentage just a few points short of .500 this year, meaning in almost half of his at-bats, teams could not get him out.
“He's one of the best hitters I've ever seen,” says teammate Ricky Santiago.
That's why the Owls right-fielder was the conference player of the year. He was 2 for 4 with 2 runs in the Owls' 8-1 victory against Florida A&M, and 2 for 3 with 3 runs and 2 RBIs in FAU's 8-4 victory over South Florida to reach the regional championship game against top seed Florida.
“It's a great honor,” said Sanger. “I worked all season long, and to finally getting the award, it shows all my hard work paid off.”
“There are guys that can hit, and get hits,” said FAU head coach John McCormack. “But he understands hitting.”
“He's been like that ever since he was a freshman,” added Santiago. “He's just one of those special players.”
Sanger hopes he can continue his clutch ways, starting this weekend in his second shot in the NCAA Baseball Regionals.
“We're hungry,” said Sanger. “We have high expectations, and we are ready to show the country what we have to offer.”
The junior will likely have just one more chance to lead FAU to college baseball's version of the Holy Grail - Omaha and the College World Series.
“I'm saying this prematurely,” said McCormack,. “but professional baseball will come calling, and good for him.”
“Everyone wants to dogpile,” said Sanger.
Call Sanger, the Owls' “Hit Dog” - the man who's so hard to get out, now will try to keep the Owls from being knocked out of the Big Dance.
See the full NCAA Tournament bracket.