Panther Preview: FIU prepares for two-game series versus Mississippi State

Brett Shweky // Staff Writer

With FIU winning 14 of its last 19 games, the team will travel to Starkville, Mississippi, Tuesday for a two-game series against the Mississippi State Bulldogs.  

This is the first meeting between the two teams; FIU has an 11-35 all-time record versus the SEC.

Over the weekend, the Panthers were able to take two out of three games against the UAB Blazers. FIU dropped the opening game against UAB 8-5; however, the team was able to win the second game, 12-6, and the third game, 6-2, for the series win.

First Baseman Nick Day was an instrumental part of the Panthers’ success last weekend as the senior was able to go 5 for 9 with three home runs and five RBI.

Day, who had been in a hitting slump, said that he stuck with the process and was finally able to overcome the slow start to the season.

“I kept working at it,” said the senior first baseman. “Our hitting coach Jered [Goodwin] has  consistently reminded myself and my teammates to stick to the process the coaching staff has set for us and finally it all came together.”

MSU is currently on a seven game winning streak, defeating the Tennessee Volunteers, the Memphis Tigers and the Ole Miss Runnin’ Rebels.

The Bulldogs’ outfielder Brent Rooker received SEC Player of the Week honors last week, while compiling a .1000 slugging percentage and 17 base hits.

With 49 steals on the season, the Bulldogs currently rank first in the SEC in stolen bases. MSU is batting a .298 average, which ranks second in the SEC, and also has a combined pitching ERA of 4.30.  

In the first game, right-hander Robert Garcia (1-4, 3.10) will take the mound for the Panthers, while MSU will look to right-hander Graham Ashcraft (2-0, 5.57 ERA) for the start. Tuesday’s game is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

The teams have yet to decide who will be starting in the final game of the two-game series. Wednesday’s game will start at 7:30 p.m.

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