William Duval | Staff writer
FIU baseball finished 1-2 in a three-game series against the FAU Owls, reaching its conclusion on Saturday, April 8, 2023, at FIU Baseball Stadium in Miami, Florida.
The Panthers were coming off a heartbreaking 6-4 loss to Stetson, holding a 13-17 record heading into their matchup with FAU.
Game 1 of the series started with the Owls striking first, with junior Nolan Schanuel slamming in a two-run home run in the first inning, 2-0.
At the bottom of the first inning, redshirt senior Mike Rosario started FIU’s night with a double. Junior Dante Girardi followed up with a single that allowed Rosario to score courtesy of a fielding error.
The Panthers cut the Owls’ lead to 2-1 by the end of the first. No team scored until the bottom of the fifth, where Girardi and junior Ryne Guida would reinvigorate FIU’s offense with a single each to load the bases.
Junior Adrian Figueroa then hit a single, allowing Girardi to tie the game at 2-2.
Redshirt junior Henry Wallen was then walked, allowing Sanchez to score. Immediately after, redshirt sophomore Brendan Roney hit a fly ball, scoring Guida.
By the end of the fifth inning, the Panthers held a 4-2 lead over the Owls.
At the top of the seventh inning, Schanuel would make another hit leading to a fielder’s choice, allowing FAU junior Jalen DeBose to score. Senior Jackson Ross followed this up with a massive two-run home run, reclaiming the Owls’ advantage, 5-4.
FIU couldn’t mount a comeback, falling 8-4 in Game 1.
Game 2 had a much slower start as both teams combined for two hits until the top of the fourth inning.
Schanuel delivered the Owls’ first score of the game with a powerful hit to right field, ending with a solo home run.
After Ross hit a single and sophomore John Schroeder hit a double, the Owls had excellent positioning to score again. Redshirt sophomore Daulton Frank made a hit to left field, allowing Ross to score and giving FAU a 2-0 lead over the Panthers.
At the bottom of the fourth inning, Girardi and Guida would respond for FIU, both hitting singles. Junior Ruben Carpio then hit a single down the right side to score Girardi, cutting the Owls’ lead 2-1.
Neither team scored until the top of the sixth inning, where junior Caleb Pendleton would hit a solo home run to give FAU a 3-1 lead.
After Schroeder scored off a single from junior Armando Albert, FAU held a 4-1 lead after six innings.
In the seventh inning, the Owls’ offense erupted, with Schroeder hitting an emphatic three-run home run. FAU pulled away with a final score of 7-3 to take the second game of the series.
After two dominant performances, the Owls stumbled in the series finale.
FIU’s first scores came in the bottom of the first inning due to pitching problems for FAU. Carpio delivered the Panthers’ only hit of the inning.
Girardi, Sanchez, Guida and Figueroa were all consecutively walked, resulting in two scores for FIU.
Holding a 2-0 lead, the Panthers’ defense didn’t let up, not allowing FAU to score until the third inning.
FAU’s offense showed signs of life in the third inning, with Albert and Schanuel both hitting doubles. With runners in position to score, Ross hit a fly ball, giving Albert enough time to score for the Owls.
The Panthers’ lead was cut down to 2-1, but they were not deterred.
In the bottom of the third inning, Girardi and Guida both hit singles, giving Figueroa an opportunity to extend the lead. Figueroa hit a single of his own to score Girardi.
With a 3-1 lead, FIU went into the fourth inning with a fire lit inside it and capitalized on multiple mistakes from FAU.
Roney, freshman Roylan Quevedo and Rosario were all consecutively walked, loading the bases for the Panthers. Carpio took the opportunity and hit a double, allowing Roney and Quevedo to score.
FIU jumped out to a 5-1 lead over the Owls.
After the previous hitter was struck out, Sanchez hit a single, allowing Rosario to score. Almost immediately after, Figueroa reached on an error, allowing Carpio to score.
The Panthers claimed a 7-1 lead and never looked back.
After the Owls managed to score one more run, the Panthers cracked a nine-run sixth inning to put the game away for good, 16-2. Sanchez and Guida hit back-to-back home runs for FIU.
FIU’s record now sits at 14-19 on the season as the team now squares off against the FGCU Eagles on Wednesday, April 12, 2023, at Swanson Stadium in Fort Myers, Florida.
First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.
Follow William Duval on Twitter at @WillDuval40