Richard Gibson/Staff Writer
The perfect season for FIU continues, as the final game between the George Mason ensued. The Panthers, who have shocked Conference USA, hoped to keep the bats hot today, and did just that. George Mason gave it all they had, but FIU’s offense reigned supreme, in a 7-5 sweep of the series.
George Mason’s first inning consisted of a single and walk, then a wild pitch by FIU bringing in two runners. After a wild pitch to home plate, another runner came in, and FIU was losing 3-0. For FIU, Jarrett Ford walked, then Derek Cartaya doubled. An RBI by Alec Sanchez brought Ford home, and FIU shortened the lead to 3-1.
The second inning saw George Mason get a walk, but couldn’t convert it to anything, courtesy of pitcher Jared Lyons. Juan Teixiera began the second for FIU with a double, then Luis Chavez singled. Kaeber Rog then walked, but FIU couldn’t create any runs in the second.
In the third, George Mason had a quick 1-2-3 series. For FIU, Sanchez and Jose Garcia both walked, then Ben Rozenblum was hit by a pitch. Teixiera hit a ball up the middle, and a wild throw to first base brought home two runners. A double by Chavez brought home Teixiera, and FIU stripped the Patriot’s lead, now leading 4-3.
The Patriots began the fourth with a single and a walk, then earned a run off a wild pitch to first base. George Mason then earned a walk, then a player was hit by a pitch, filling the bases. After another Patriot was hit by a pitch, George Mason regained the lead, 5-4. FIU couldn’t do anything at bat, and that ended the fourth.
George Mason earned two straight singles in the fifth inning, but couldn’t convert them into runs. For FIU, Garcia walked, then Teixiera singled. Chavez then walked, filling the bases. A wild pitch by George Mason brought home Garcia, tying up the game at 5-5.
The sixth inning was short and sweet for George Mason, with a quick 1-2-3 inning. FIU didn’t fare much better. Despite Sanchez being hit by a pitch, as well as a couple of walks that filled up the bases, they couldn’t create runs, leaving everyone stranded.
With the game tied in the seventh inning, George Mason put up a single and walk, but couldn’t put up any runs. For FIU, Rozenblum singled, then Chavez walked. Kaeber Rog then doubled, bringing home Rozenblum. Ford then hit an RBI sending in Chavez, and FIU regained the lead once more, leading 7-5.
George Mason had no answer in the eighth inning, with a quick 1-2-3 series. A quick single by Sanchez began the eighth for FIU, though they couldn’t add to their lead.
The ninth inning was George Mason’s last hurrah. Despite getting two singles, pitcher Alejandro Torres kept his cool and delivered three straight outs, ending the game and sweeping the series with George Mason.
Pitcher Jose Machado picks up the win, closing out the game with no hits allowed. FIU earned nine hits on 28 at bats, earning five RBIs. Three players managed two hits: Cartaya, Rozenblum, and Teixiera. Five different players earned RBIs, and FIU committed three errors.
“Every time we take the field, we think we’re gonna come out of here with a win,” said Cartaya. “We just stuck together and tried to play a good defense. Our pitchers were able to keep us in the game. We just stayed together and stayed composed, and waited for the right moment to strike.”
FIU now has a perfect 7-0 record, and is currently first in Conference USA. The only other undefeated team is the Florida Atlantic Owls, who are 6-0. Every other team in Conference has at least one loss so far this season.
When asked about FIU’s next opponent, the Pepperdine Waves, head coach Mervyl Melendez said “I think what we’re going to get from a west coast team is that they’re very fundamentally strong, and they’re gonna play a different pace of game. I want to make sure we play at the same standard that we’ve played thus far.”
FIU begins the three-game series with Pepperdine on Friday, February 28th at 7pm. The series will continue to Saturday, February 29th at 6pm. It’ll finish on Sunday, March 1st at 12pm. After that, FIU will begin another home series against the Penn Quakers.