By Jackson Wolek/Staff Writer
FIU took the first of three games on the season against Bethune-Cookman as Logan Dodds got his first victory of the season going six innings and allowing one run on five hits and seven strikeouts.
The Panthers outhit Bethune-Cookman by only two, but they found a way to make the most out of it and took a 5-0 lead into the sixth inning and never looked back, beating the Wildcats 6-2.
First baseman Adam Kirsch led the charge for the Panthers with a home run in the second inning and a double that brought in two runs in the third inning that gave FIU the early lead.
“I just went up to bat, and got the fastball first pitch and swung and luckily it went out,” Kirsch said. “Basically the same mindset [for the double] he threw me a fastball first pitch, they were both on first pitch.”
With the win, the Panthers (11- 12, 2-4 SBC) start their longest home stretch of the season on the right foot, and avoid their fourth straight back to back losses of the year. More importantly for head coach Turtle Thomas is that his team only had to use two pitchers and conserve the bullpen.
“Dodds, John Costa, Adam Kirsch, those are the three right there,” said Thomas. “Dodds went out there and pitched, he had established his stuff in the bullpen and he brought it to the mound. We threw practically everybody we had last weekend and it’s not like we had eight pitchers who could go in the game so we needed a good outing from our starter.”
It was Logan Dodds second start of the year and third appearance. After leading 3-0 through five innings however, he gave up his first and only run of the game, a solo shot to left field by David Lee.
“2-0 [pitch count], just wanted to throw a strike and that kid got every little piece of it,” said Dodds the homerun. “I was getting ahead early, got a fastball down and away, I was hitting my spots and that just setup the slider and changeup,” he added on his performance for the game.
After Kirsches three RBI’s, Jabari Henry increased the lead in the fifth inning by scoring in two runs, making it five RBI’s on the season.
The Wildcats started a comeback in the eighth inning when relief pitcher John Costa gave up triple to Lee who brought in a run on the hit. He quickly ended the got himself together with two consecutive strikeouts to end the threat.
The Panthers got an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth as Oscar Aguirre scored from second base before Burns was thrown out trying to advance his single into a double that ended the inning. Costa finished the game off in the ninth getting the final three outs via strike out to record six K’s in just three innings.
Dodds and Costa combined for 13 strikeouts and just two walks, with Dodds facing 22 batters and Costa going against 11.
“He came in a little tentative to begin with, but then he started throwing and he did a nice job, so that was big right there,” said Thomas about Costa.”
Only three batters failed to get a hit for FIU as T.J. Shantz went 0-4, Jabari Henry went 0-4 and Julius Gaines went 0-3.
The Panthers will be at home until April 13 with one game against Florida Gulf Coast, a three-game series versus ULM, a two-game set against Florida A&M, and then three games versus Troy to cap the home stand off.