Errors hurt Golden Panthers in loss to Western Kentucky

By: Brandon Wise / Staff Writer

It was a tough battle for the  Golden Panthers, but in the end the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers proved to be too much, defeating FIU 3-2 in the first game of a three-game home series.

Defense played a key role throughout the game as FIU committed four errors while Western Kentucky had none. Although only one defensive mistake ended up leading to a run, it ended up being the difference.

“We need to shore up the defense a little bit,” coach Turtle Thomas said. “We had some miscues there in the field that we need to make to win that kind of baseball game.”

The scoring got going when Kes Carter led off the second inning for the Hilltoppers with a solo home run, but then Haig rebounded to strike out the side.

The Golden Panthers (14-10, 1-3 SBC) responded right away with two runs of their own in the bottom half of the second. Following lead off singles by Tyler James Shantz and Jabari Henry, Joel Capote sacrificed them over on a bunt. Jose Behar then picked up an RBI when he grounded out to third. Pablo Bermudez then singled home Henry to give FIU the lead.

In the fourth, the Hilltoppers (15-6, 4-0 SBC) bats came to life, picking up three consecutive singles, leading to a run that tied the game. But Haig would work out of it to only give up the one run.

In the fifth, Haig struggled a bit, starting out the inning with an error, walking the next batter, and conceding a single. A sacrifice fly from Ivan Hartle brought home a run to give WKU the lead, but Jared Anderoli was then tagged out trying to advance to second, which limited the damage for FIU. Then Matt Rice hit a shot to center, but Joel Capote made a spectacular catch to save a run.

The key play of the game was a costly error by first baseman Rudy Flores that led to the deciding run coming across.

In the seventh, Haig’s night came to halt after giving up a two hits and then hitting the next batter. He finished the game with seven strikeouts. Mason McVay then came on to shut the Hilltoppers down without giving up a run.

Following a Henry walk to open the bottom of the seventh, Behar ripped a shot down the left field line that was difficult to determine whether the fielder caught or not. In the confusion, Henry rounded third, but then it was found the he actually dropped it and Henry ended up in a pickle between third base and home.

“We were running, and we held [Henry] up at third,” Thomas said. “And he kind of kept running. Its just a miscue that’s all there is to it.”

Though the Golden Panthers showed some sparks of a comeback, they could never put all the pieces together to score the tying run.

“When you don’t sniff a run for seven innings it’s pretty hard to win,” Thomas said.

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