FIU sweeps Stony Brook, continues hot start

By Alejandro Solana/Staff Writer

FIU Baseball opened up a three game series on Friday, Feb. 21 against the Stony Brook Seawolves. Going into the game friday, FIU was off to a hot start having swept Rutgers in their opening series of the season and were undefeated with five total wins.

The opening game of the three game series would be the closest game of the weekend as far as the scoreboard would show. The Panthers came away with a 6-2 win improving their record to 6-0 on the season. The 6-0 start for FIU marked the ninth time an FIU baseball team has started its season with six wins and no losses.

Junior Mike Franco had the start for FIU, striking out nine batters over five innings while giving up only four hits, en route to his first win of the season.

The Panthers were able to record their first home runs of the season after Louis Silverio and Julius Gaines, both Juniors, went long for FIU.

FIU’s leadoff man, senior Tyler Hibbert, had two hits on the night while also stealing two bases giving him a team leading six stolen bases on the year. Silverio, one of the players who had hit a homerun earlier for the Panther’s, also had another hit on the afternoon giving him two in total.

FIU scored one run in the first off an RBI double from sophomore Edwin Rios scoring Hibbert, three more in the bottom of the third after Gaines went yard with two on, and two final runs in the sixth when Silverio hit a jack that traveled over the center field wall pushing their lead to 4 runs. The Seawolves’ only two runs came in the top of the fourth inning, one of which came from a throwing error.

The FIU bullpen had another promising showing as senior Albert Cardenas and freshmen Gunnar McNeill each contributed for four innings between the two, securing the win for the Panthers in the opening game of the series.

Saturday night shutout

The second game of the weekend series between FIU and Stony Brook saw Junior Mike Ellis take the mound for the Panthers who won the game easily, shutting out the Seawolves 10-0.

Ellis went for 5 1/3 innings striking out seven total Seawolves batters, giving up only three hits on the afternoon and improving his record to 2-0 on the season.

Once again the Panthers managed to score in the first inning, bringing home three runs to start the game after RBI’s from junior Josh Anderson, Rios, and junior L.K. Thompson.

It was in the seventh inning that the Panthers really took over the game after sophomore Antonio Rodriguez had a pinch-hit bases-clearing double while they were loaded, bringing in all three runners pushing the lead to double digits, 10-0, where it would remain.

Rios had a huge night for FIU after struggling early on in the season. Rios finished the night 4-5 bringing in three runners. Aramis Garcia, the senior catcher who was somewhat quiet in the first game of the series had two hits and two runs on the night.

With the win, the Panthers improved to 7-0 for the first time since the 2010 season (won the Sun Belt championship) and just the second time since the 1991 season.

Bring out the brooms

In the final game of the series, FIU had a chance to remain unbeaten and improve their record to 8-0, marking the first time the team had done that since the 1982 season.

Outstanding performances by Anderson and Garcia lifted FIU to their best start in school history in over 20 years, securing a sweep for the team and finishing off a great series for the pair.

Anderson, who has been on a tear as of late, continued his hot streak with the bat going 4-5 on the day, finishing with six RBI’s, a monster homerun, and two runs scored. Anderson was only a triple away from hitting for the cycle. Garcia, who is usually the team’s starting catcher but was playing first baseman on sunday, also had a great day at the plate hammering in two RBI’s, scoring three runs on just two hits after being walked twice also.

Freshmen Cody Crouse had his second start of the season, going four innings allowing only two hits and zero earned runs. Crouse at one point in the game struck out three straight Seawolves batters. Freshmen Chris Mourelle was awarded the W after relieving Crouse in the bottom of the fifth, giving up two hits and no runs.

FIU scored yet again in the first inning, making that their eighth straight game with a run in the first(every game this season thus far). The run came when Garcia was walked and Anderson ripped a double to left center bringing him in.

The Panthers did find themselves trailing 2-1 after 3.5 innings coming from three fielding errors in the inning. None of the runs scored by the Seawolves were recorded as earned runs.

It wasn’t long before the Panthers regained the lead, as in the bottom of the third FIU was tacked on three more runs after Josh Anderson fought his way through an eight pitch at bat and belted the last one he saw over the left field fence, barely missing the scoreboard. With the home run, the Panthers’ lead 4-2.

The score stayed unchanged until the bottom of the 6th when Garcia hit a single to left-center with the bases loaded bringing in two runners. Another Anderson double shortly after gave FIU an 8-2 lead, his second double of the after noon. Anderson, who was just one double shy of tying an FIU single season record for doubles with 22 last season, already has a team leading six this year through eight games.

The Panthers added one more in inning six and later three more in the bottom half of the eighth extending the lead to 12-2 where it would remain until the final out of the game.

Next up for the FIU baseball team is a one game series on Tuesday, Feb. 25 when they will host Florida Memorial at 6 p.m. from FIU Baseball Stadium. The Panthers will then travel up to Jupiter, Fla. where they will play an exhibition game against the Florida Marlins.

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