Anthony Guivas/Staff Writer
After starting the year playing non-conference teams, FIU (12-13) opened up Sun Belt Conference play with a pitcher’s duel.
FIU was eased into conference play against a slumping Owls club with 2-0 victory against FAU on March 21. The Panthers played a FAU squad that had lost nine of their last 13 games. The team received a stellar performance from ace Mariah Dawson. Dawson gave her bullpen a rest, pitching a complete game allowing just two hits to go with a season-high 12 strikeouts.
The Panthers got a quick run in the opening frame thanks to a long Kayla Burri bomb to left field on a full-count. Burri’s home run was her second of the season. She is also second in the team in home runs this season.
The Panthers next run came in the sixth when Kelsey Grabiak single moving Ashley McClain from second to third and thanks to a throwing error by FAU McClain was able to score from third. This then put FIU up 2-0 putting the Panthers at an even .500.
Dawson’s stingy pitching rubbed off on FAU. Taylor Fawbush, FAU’s starter, took the loss but tossed a complete game as well, allowing one earned run and six hits while striking out five batters. FIU’s offense didn’t need to break the bank on the scoreboard and scored just two runs in the first and sixth (unearned) respectively to secure the win.
FIU will now continue their Sun Belt Conference play as they travel to Alabama to face Troy in a three-game series in two days starting on March 31. First pitch is set for 1 p.m., followed by 3:00 p.m. scheduled start time for the second game of the doubleheader.