Freshman pitcher limits Manhattan to two hits, setting FIU up for 5-1 victory

Krono Lescano / Panther Press

Brett Shweky // Staff Writer

Freshman Nick MacDonald dominated the Manhattan batters leading the Panthers to a 5-1 victory, Sunday at FIU Baseball Stadium. The right-hander pitched through 7 ⅔ innings, striking out nine opposing batters and restricting the Jaspers to two hits.

FIU (5-6) clinched its first series of the season, as the team won three out of the four games in the series against Manhattan (1-6).

MacDonald (1-0) made his second career start for FIU, not allowing a hit until the fourth inning. The freshman said his staying ahead of the pitch count was one of the difference makers going into his second collegiate start.

“Over the week I worked heavily on my changeup and curveball,” said MacDonald. “Today, I got ahead in counts against almost every batter I faced and when you do that it’s hard to lose.”

In the bottom of the second, senior Zach Files RBI singled, sending Kenny Meimerstorf home for first run of the game.

Manhattan scored their lone run of the game, when designated-hitter Evan Brown hit a solo home run over the left-field fence in the fourth inning. The Jaspers’ only other hit came off a single by Michael Pfenninger in the top of the seventh.   

Right-fielder Adam Sevario singled off Manhattan starter Joey Rocchietti (0-1), allowing Files to score the tire-breaking run putting FIU up 2-1 .  

The Panthers added onto their lead in the fifth, when Meimerstorf RBI singled, allowing Derek Cartaya to score, making the score 3-1 FIU.  In the sixth inning both Jack Schaaf and Irving Lopez RBI singled, increasing the Panthers lead to 5-1.

Lopez finished the game going 2 for 3, with a double and a RBI single.

Coach Mervyl Melendez noted that the senior shortstop played a large impact in the series win over the Jaspers.

“Early in the fall we knew that Lopez could be a large contributor for the team,” said Melendez. “As a coaching staff, it’s on us to put him in position to succeed. Irving being a strategic hitter, his skillsets add well to the team.”  

The next for FIU will be against the cross-town rivals the Miami Hurricanes. The game is set for 6 p.m. as the Hurricanes host the Panthers at Alex Rodriguez Park.  

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