Baseball looks to return to form in three game series against LA Tech

Senior infielder Adrian Figueroa preparing to hit the ball. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics.

Mohamed Elbahlool | Contributing Writer

The FIU baseball team looks to reestablish their momentum and are hosting the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs in a three game series, beginning on Thursday, March 28, 2024 in Miami, Florida.

Entering this matchup, the Panthers hold a 13-12 overall record and took a 14-7 loss in their most recent game against the Miami Hurricanes on Tuesday, March 22. In that game, they struggled to make defensive stops and couldn’t keep up with their opponent’s scoring.

Vs. Miami:

To begin the game, both teams displayed their power on offense and matched each other’s scoring output. By the end of the third inning, neither team claimed an advantage and the score sat at a 4-4 tie.

However, the Hurricanes created some separation on the scoreboard by scoring back-to-back runs in the fourth inning. After senior outfielder Jacoby Long scored off a flyout, graduate student JD Urso was able to steal home plate on their next at-bat.

Undeterred by the 6-4 deficit, FIU slowly chipped away at the lead over the course of the next three innings. In the fifth inning, redshirt junior outfielder Kishon Frett made a powerful hit towards deep center field that resulted in a home run and tied the game.

Able to carry their momentum into the sixth inning, the Panthers were in position to score after two consecutive singles. Senior infielder Adrian Figueroa continued the streak of singles and allowed redshirt junior outfielder Austin Dearing to score.

After scoring one run in three consecutive innings, FIU rallied from behind and captured a 7-6 lead in the sixth inning. However, their lead was short-lived, as their opponent had an offensive eruption in the seventh inning.

Due to multiple pitching errors from the Panthers, Miami was able to score their first two runs of the inning from a wild pitch and a walk. In their eighth at-bat of the inning, Long hit a double and allowed two runners to score.

Only two at-bat’s later, Long continued his offensive dominance, as he stole home plate and scored. He secured the Hurricanes’ sixth run of the inning and helped them claim a 12-7 advantage.

Following Long’s score, tempers flared and head coach Rich Witten was ejected from the game. 

Through the remainder of the game, FIU was unable to find any source of offense and was held scoreless. By its conclusion, they took a 14-7 loss to Miami and lost their third game over a five game span.

Despite their performance against the Hurricanes, the Panthers have the opportunity to reestablish consistency in their next series against LA Tech.

Vs. LA Tech:

Coming into this matchup, the Bulldogs bolster a 21-6 season record and are in the midst of a five game win streak. In their most recent game against the ULM Warhawks on Tuesday, March 26, they took an 8-4 win and displayed their offensive capabilities.

Senior outfielder Cole McConnell led the team in multiple statistical categories, as he finished with three hits and two runs. This season, he holds a team-high .388 batting average and has accumulated 28 runs, which is the second most on the team.

Senior catcher Jorge Corona also made a significant contribution and finished with three RBI’s, which was the most on the team. Through multiple steady hands at home plate, LA Tech was able to claim an exclamatory 8-4 win.

If FIU wishes to leave this matchup victorious, they must not commit any errors at the pitching mound. In their game against the Hurricanes, they allowed their opponent to get in scoring position due to their frequent pitching errors.

Beyond their pitching, the Panthers must also exercise patience at the plate and only swing at the correct pitches. They cannot waste any opportunities to score, as the Bulldogs have demonstrated the ability to quickly ignite.

Looking to rebuild momentum and establish consistency, the FIU baseball team is hosting the LA Tech Bulldogs for a three game series, beginning on Thursday, March 28, 2024 in Miami, Florida.

First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. at the FIU Baseball Field and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.

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