Panthers look to sweep second tournament at FIU Classic

Bryan Palacio/contributing writer

After playing 11 games in 14 days, the FIU softball team trudges onto their next tournament of the season with a perfect weekend behind them, but not as fast a start as they would’ve liked.

The Panthers (6-5) come off a weekend tournament which saw them win all four of their games in the Blue/Gold Felsberg Memorial tournament, bringing them to a five-game win streak and above .500 for the first time this season. Unfortunately, it’s not the start they were looking for.

“Forty plus wins,” said senior Brie Rojas in the preseason of the team’s goal.
Forty wins is still possible, but that means they’d have to go 34-9 over the rest of the season. The Panthers have only reached 40 wins once in program history in 2001.

Senior infielder Jessy Alfonso is third on the team with a .333 batting average and second in on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

Senior infielder Jessy Alfonso is third on the team with a .333 batting average and second in on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

The season just started and FIU, sitting third in the Sun Belt Conference, is already down four games to teams that have played fewer games. But without any conference games played yet, the team is still in good position to compete for the top spot.

“We made our adjustments,” said Head Coach Jake Schumann. “When they’re going to throw us away then we need to hit it away. [We need to] be on the cover and hit to all fields. I thought we did pretty well at that this weekend.”

FIU ranks sixth in team batting average in the SBC, same spot they held last year. If they are planning on placing first, they need to hit better, both individually and as a team. Only senior Alex Casals places in the top ten in batting average.

They are a perfect 16-for-16 on stolen bases, though, a mark that lands them second in the conference behind South Alabama’s 20.
The Panthers rank seventh in pitching in the conference with an ERA 3.55 a game. Although, they have pitched two more games than the other teams in the conference, they have given up the most hits, 20, than the next closest team. They have recorded the most strikeouts. Junior Shelbie Wagnon has the eighth-best ERA in the SBC along with a 3-0 record. Junior Mariah Dawson ranks third with 26 strikeouts, but way behind Jordan Wallace’s conference-leading 42 from University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

Where the team does shine is fielding. They are second to University of South Alabama with a fielding percentage of .971 to go along with 81 assists, and 225 putouts, a play made by one or more fielders that cause a batter or a base runner to be ruled out.
The Panthers will play in the FIU Classic Tournament that starts today at 4 p.m. where they will take on Savannah State University, the University of Hartford, and Mercer University.