Baseball looks to get back on track against Sam Houston

Senior catcher Ronny Medina preparing to make a catch at home plate. Photo courtesy of FIU Athletics.

Adrian Benitez | Staff Writer

The FIU baseball team is playing in the second game of a three game series against the Sam Houston Bearkats on Saturday, May 11, 2024 in Miami, Florida.

Entering this matchup, the Panthers hold a 25-23 overall record and took a 7-1 loss in the first game of their series against the Bearkats on Friday, May 10. In that game, they struggled to keep up with the scoring of their opponent after they sacrificed an early lead.

To begin the game, junior infielder Walker Janek rocketed a solo home run to left field and gave SHSU an early 1-0 lead.

Following Janek’s early score, neither team was able to score until the fourth inning, where the Bearkats were able to strike again. Senior outfielder Jeffrey David’s hit was ripped towards left field and resulted in another solo home run. 

Able to enter the fifth inning with a 2-0 advantage, SHSU continued to apply pressure on FIU’s defense. Janek made a hit that resulted in a groundout, but allowed freshman infielder Jace Martinez to reach home plate and score.

Facing a 3-0 deficit, the Panthers were in need of a score to keep the game within competitive reach. Making a defensive stance, they were able to hold their opponent scoreless over the sixth and seventh innings.

Preventing a complete shutout on the scoreboard, junior infielder Brendan Roney hit a solo home run during the seventh inning. His score cut the Bearkats’ lead down to 3-1 with two innings remaining in regulation.

Despite Roney’s score, FIU’s offensive momentum proved to be short-lived. Ignited by another score from Janek, SHSU scored three runs during the seventh inning and carved out a 6-1 lead.

After sacrificing a late game lead, there was too little time remaining for the Panthers to rally a comeback. Held scoreless for the remainder of the game, they took a 7-1 loss and lost their fourth game over a five game span.

Through the intensity they displayed, the Bearkats differentiated themselves on the defensive side of the ball. Over their last two games, they’ve only allowed three runs, which shows their capability to shut down opposing teams at the plate.

There were many missed opportunities throughout the game. On offense, FIU ended four innings with two runners stranded. In total, FIU left a total of seven runners in scoring position on the base-paths.

Another issue for the Panthers came in defensive collapses. In their previous series against Liberty, they lost their final two games due to giving up numerous runs over the span of an inning or two.

A similar fate occurred late in this game, as FIU allowed a decisive four runs in their last two defensive frames.

Janek was a significant thorn in the side of the defense, recording a solo homer, two RBIs and two runs in the contest.

If the Panthers wish to leave this series victorious, they must re-establish their offensive pace against the Bearkats rotation. They also need to avoid the same defensive collapses that cost them the first contest and find a way to slow down Janek’s torrid pace.

Coming off a loss, the FIU baseball team is looking to rebound against the Sam Houston State Bearkats on Friday, May 11, 2024 in Miami, Florida.

First pitch is slated for 5:00 p.m. at the FIU Baseball Stadium and the game will be broadcasted on ESPN+.

Follow Adrian Benitez on X: @ab305fiu

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