An all around team effort gives FIU Baseball the win

MIAMI- After a big win against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats, the FIU Panthers looked to keep the winning vibes going as they sent Angel Tiburcio out on the mound to face a Western Kentucky team that had just swept the Charlotte 49ers in conference play. Thanks to an all-around team effort, the Panthers smoked the Hilltoppers in game one of the three-game set to a final score of 8-1.

Angel Tiburcio shoved going 6.0 innings, striking out six, and only allowing one run. Tiburcio, who doesn’t produce much strikeouts or swing-and-miss action, did all of that tonight. After struggling against the FAU Owls this weekend, Tiburcio really showed what he is capable of doing when everything is clicking for him. Tiburcio also did work very efficiently, which allowed him to control the pitch count throughout the majority of the game and also help him go deep into the game.

The only mistake that we saw from Tiburcio was in that first inning where he allowed his only one. In the top of the first where he allowed a lead-off hit by Ty Crittenberger. He then stole second and an error by the FIU defense allowed Crittenberger to score.

“It’s 100% mentality,” said FIU Manager Rich Witten when asking him about what was different for Tiburcio in his outing. “Tibo takes them out on attack mode with some attitude about the things that he is doing. He’s as good as anyone so that it was pure mentality tonight and we kind of challenged him a little bit before the game and we rose to the occasion and stepped up, so really proud of him tonight.”

Overall, you cannot be disappointed with how Tiburcio pitched tonight, as he ties a season-high in innings pitched at six innings pitched. Tiburcio is set to start again against Charlotte next weekend.

The FIU offense truly shook WKU starter Lane Diuguid out of rhythm. Diuguid, who entered this start, had a 3.33 ERA and a 1-2 record. The inning began with Mike Rosario striking out and Dante Girardi flying out. That began the FIU two-out rally with the duo of Alec Sanchez and Ryne Guida both getting a base hit to have a man on first and second. With two outs in the inning, that set the stage for Ruben Carpio who during his at-bat saw a passed ball that moved up Sanchez and Guida. With a 1-1 count, Ruben Carpio got on base due to a WKU error by first baseman Lukas Farris. FIU easily tied the game 1-1.

Right after, the Iron Man for FIU, Adrian Figueroa went up to the plate and smacked an RBI single that drove in Ryne Guida to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first. Figueroa this season has played every game for the Panthers and that was his 29th RBI of the season. You can’t ask for a better season for the junior.

In the bottom of the second inning, FIU would extend the lead, to 3-1. Starting off with a Brendan Roney hit-by-pitch and then a Mike Rosario single set the stage for Dante Girardi who grounded into a double-play, but scored Brendan Roney. Despite a quiet offensive night for Girardi, he still made an impact on the offensive and defensive sides of the field.

The lucky seven lived up to the hype for FIU as they extended their lead and scored some insurance runs. The inning began with Dante Girardi reaching base on an error from second baseman Tristin Gonzalez. After an Alec Sanchez strikeout, Ryne Guida smashed an RBI double into right-center field to drive in Girardi. FIU extended the lead, to 4-1. This would be a special RBI for Guida as it was the 40th RBI of the season for the Junior. This is the first time that Guida reaches the 40 RBI marker in his college career. Congrats to Ryne on the accomplishment.

“Yeah, he’s swinging the bat well right now. He’s staying within himself, staying with his approach,” said Rich Witten following the game. “He’s taking what the pitch gives him. If the pitcher is gonna go away and try and get him out of the way, you can go the other way.”

Following the game, when Jonathan Mayer interviewed Guida, he was received with a small water shower and with many players hyping him up throughout the interview. Guida told Jonathan after the game that he has been making adjustments throughout the season and it has been about staying with the process for Guida.

After the Guida RBI double, Ruben Carpio followed him up and worked the walk. A wild pitch moved up both runners after. With one out in the inning, Adrian Figueroa smacked a sac fly to drive in Ryne Guida and give FIU a 5-1 lead.

An inning later, the Panthers offense stayed hot and scored three more runs. Those three runs ended up being the final three runs of the game. An RBI from Alec Sanchez scored two more runs and Ryne Guida followed up Sanchez by hitting an RBI of his own. FIU takes the 8-1 lead with 13 hits on the night against three hits for the Hilltoppers.

After Tiburcio was taken out of the game, the Panthers made the surprising decision of going with starter Ryan Cabarcas to finish the game off for FIU. Cabracas threw three innings of relief, struck out five, and even earned the save as he threw three innings. Cabracas couldn’t have been any better as he threw some of the hardest pitches this season.

“We’ve been using Ryan a little bit as a swing guy over the last couple of weeks,” said Witten. “If we have an opportunity to extend him a little bit in a situation where we can win the baseball game, we’re going to trust him in the back part of it.”

The Panthers are back at it at 5:00 pm EST tomorrow as they go for the series win with Jackson Ritchey on the mound. For the Hilltoppers, they will have Devyn Terbank who has a 3.71 ERA on the season with a 4-3 record.

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