Panther Preview: FIU takes on Stetson in two-game series

Brett Shweky // Staff Writer

FIU will travel to DeLand, Florida, to take on the Stetson Hatters in a two-game series on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The two-game series will mark the 101st and the 102nd time FIU and Stetson will play one another, with Stetson leading the series 59-41. The last time the two teams met, the Hatters edged the Panthers in a 8-5 victory.

The Panthers are coming off a stretch of nine games in nine days, going 7-2 and winning each of the three series FIU played in. FIU started off by taking three out of four games against the Manhattan Jaspers, then swept the crosstown rival Miami Hurricanes in a two-game series and finished by defeating Charleston Southern in two of the three games played.

Junior catcher JC Escarra went 7 for 15 in the series against Miami and Charleston Southern, finishing with two home runs and eight RBI. Freshman fielder Adam Sevario ,who was 9 for 19 in the series against UM and CSU, leads the Panthers with a .395 batting average.

Escarra, who is coming off a slow start to the season, said that he adjusted his mental approach going into at bats to get him out of his hitting slump.

“My swing was never the issue, it was my mental approach,” said Escarra regarding the hitting slump. “Being smart at the plate, understanding how the pitcher might throw to me is key when you’re at bat.”

Over the weekend, Stetson won two of three games against The Citadel Bulldogs, snapping their five-game losing streak going into the series. Sophomore third baseman Jack Gonzalez (.308) is the lone .300 hitter for the Hatters, scoring four runs and accumulating twelve hits in the he eleven games started.  

In the first game of the two-game series on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m., freshman right-hander Nick MacDonald (1-0, 1.32 ERA) will take the mound for the Panthers, as he duels it out with Stetson right-hander Ryan Stark (1-1, 2.01 ERA). Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., FIU freshman right-hander Tyler Myrick (1-0, 5.59 ERA) will get the nod, while Stetson will start left-hander Austin Bogart (0-1, 8.22 ERA).

Head coach Mervyl Melendez has thought both MacDonald and Myrick have done a great job so far in the season.

“They both have done an outstanding job this season,” said Melendez. “Both of them being freshman, you have to be patient with them as pitchers; however, I feel they have done really an outstanding job.”

Following the two-game series against Stetson, the Panthers will return home for their first conference series against the (10-6) Charlotte 49ers.

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