Alex Rivera/Staff Writer
Coming off two tournaments away from home, the Panthers are set to close out the majority of their non-conference games as they host the Panther Invitational, set against four opponents.
The Panthers came home from spring games in Longwood, Florida, getting three wins and two losses, and now have a 5-8 record.
The tournament is set to begin on Thursday against Tulsa at 5 p.m. It will have been over eight years since the two sides played one another, the game ending 4-1 in favor of the Hurricanes.
As for this season, the Hurricanes have an 11-8 record and winning three of their last five games. The recent eye-opener for Tulsa being their 3-2 loss to #10 Oregon in their previous tournaments. In their last tournament away from home, the Hurricanes lost all five of their games.
Friday will see the Panthers play Ball State, a team that the Panthers have historically been able to find wins against, holding the overall record 4-1 against the Cardinals. The last time the Cardinals played the Panthers in Miami, was in 2013.
Ball State has a 14-6 record before they play at Bethune-Cookman for a doubleheader, and have won nine of their last ten games at the UCF Tournament. The Panthers will play Ball State at 3:30 p.m.
On Saturday, the Panthers will play their only doubleheader of the tournament. Saturday play for the Panthers will begin at 3:30 p.m against Samford. Unlike the last two teams, the Panthers have not faced the Bulldogs in their history.
The Bulldogs are 8-11 this season, having lost seven of their last ten games and losing all their away games. The Bulldogs’ game against the Panthers will be the second game they play Saturday, the first will have been against Ball State. The Panthers are set to play the Bulldogs at 5:30pm.
The final game FIU Panthers will play in the Panther Invitational will be their second game on Saturday, will be against Maryland. FIU has won every game against the Terrapins, the last of which being a 6-1 victory for FIU in 2017.
Maryland has an 8-10 record and has yet to play a single game at their home field. In Tempe, Arizona the Terrapins played their most recent tournament, getting three wins and two losses, both of which came against Arizona State. FIU will face the Terrapins on Saturday at 7:30 pm.
Alexis Johns continues to have a great start to her season, currently batting at 0.400, made one of the five home runs the Panthers have, and only has six strikeouts in 45 at-bats.
Another player to watch is Jessica Rivera, who also has a home run, four strikeouts in 40 at-bats and leads the team in RBIs at 8. Brittany Phillips has a home run, a 0.333 batting average and leads the team in OBP at 0.429 in 24 at-bats.
The last two tournaments have shown week points in the Panthers, after a 1-17 loss to Kentucky and losing all five games in the USF tournament. However, the Panthers have a 2-1 record at home, and this tournament will be a chance to solidify if there is home field advantage for FIU.