By Nicholas Poblete/Asst. Sports Director
The Panthers’ baseball team continues their winning ways against the cross-city rival, as FIU defeated the University of Miami 5-3, at the newly named Infinity Insurance Ballpark.
FIU has now won four of their last five games against the Hurricanes, winning three out of four games last season.
“I thought we played really well, we made no mistakes on the defensive side. Of course, it all starts on the mound,” head coach Mervyl Melendez said.
With the win, FIU bolsters their record to 6-6, reaching the .500 mark, while sinking Miami to an overall record of 5-7.
Redshirt-junior third baseman Eddie Silva hit a home run in the first inning that allowed him and freshman first baseman Logan Allen to give FIU its first two runs of the night. Silva registered his fourth home run of the season.
Freshman catcher Jose Garcia increased FIU’s lead to 3-0 in the second inning, hitting the Panthers’ second home run of the night. Garcia leads the team in home runs this season with five.
Sophomore starting pitcher Nick MacDonald was substituted in the fifth inning after the Canes scored two runs, putting things 3-2. MacDonald struck out eight opposing players, allowing only two walks. Freshman pitcher Steven Casey was in charge of replacing MacDonald at the mound.
Casey threw a wild pitch in the sixth inning that allowed Miami to tie up the game 3-3. The freshman pitcher was able to bounce back from his error and keep the Canes at bay for the remainder of the game.
“It’s tough going in knowing it’s a tight game, but I know my role in the team, and that’s exactly what it is, to come into tight situations and get the job done,” Casey said.
The Panthers took the lead once again at the top of the sixth inning with a run from sophomore catcher Javier Valdes. FIU’s final run came in the eighth inning, when Silva scored his second run of the night, defeating the Hurricanes 5-3.
After his error, Casey allowed just one hit and struck out six opposing batters, clinching his second win of the season.
“We had a rough start, per say, but I think this is a good momentum shift, especially against a tough opponent,” Casey said. “I think this will fire us up a little bit and get us going.”
During FIU’s win against Miami, the Panthers paid homage to the victims of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas shooting by wearing black baseball caps with the letters “SD” on them.
“We played for them tonight. We wore those hats with a lot of pride, it was something we felt we needed to do,” Melendez said. “Our team was all in, they got excited when they got the hats.”
FIU will travel to Port Charlotte, Florida on Friday to participate in the Snowbird Baseball Classic. The Panthers will play three games in two days. On Friday at 4 p.m., FIU will play against St. Joseph’s University. The doubleheader on Saturday will see the Panthers play against Western Michigan at 1:30 p.m. and George Mason at 6 p.m.