MIAMI, FL – The FIU Panthers baseball team just went through a tough stretch this past weekend in Boca Raton, getting swept against their biggest rivals, the FAU Owls.
A Bloodbath in Boca
One of the biggest issues for the Panthers was their offense. Normally on point, FIU only scored eight runs total through the three games of the series. Keep in mind that the Cats average seven runs per game, but couldn’t get it going against FAU.
Game One saw the Panthers get blown out by a score of 13-3. The only bright spot of the game for the Cats was their designated hitter Ryne Guida, who had two hits and two RBIs in Friday’s contest. Alec Sanchez was able to continue his on-base streak, but besides that, the FIU offense struck out a total of 11 times.
The top of the order for FIU, which is one of the strongest parts of their team, struggled as Mike Rosario, Dante Girardi, Alec Sanchez, and Ruben Carpio each struck out twice.
FAU Starter C.J. Williams did most of the work for the Owls by striking out seven and going five innings. He only allowed one hit throughout his outing and walked two batters. The Owls starter was as dominant as he could have been. FAU relied on the bullpen massively as they used four relievers and they only gave up four hits in total. Danny Trehey and Sam Drumheller were the two relievers with clean sheets.
Game Two of the series was the most closely contested matchup, but FIU still dropped that game by a score of 8-4. At one point, the Panthers had a 3-1 lead late, but as the backend of the FIU bullpen does on most occasions, they blew the lead and FAU scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth and then three more in the bottom of the seventh.
After an 11 strikeout performance as a team, FIU limited the strikeouts to only seven total. Dante Girardi, Ryne Guida, Henry Wallen, and Noel Perez all had one RBI and the FIU offense had seven hits as a team. Although the offense looked much better, the Panthers still found a way to lose.
Although starter Jackson Ritchey gave up three runs and two earned in two innings pitched, that wasn’t the issue. David Eckaus gave up five earned runs in the sixth and seventh inning to drop game in dramatic fashion.
Game Three, the Sunday finale, felt like a repeat of the Friday opener against the Cats and Owls as FIU would up losing 10-1. The offense was putrid was they were struck out 11 times and only had seven hits on the night. The Panthers showed that they couldn’t be patient, either, as they only walked twice in the game and to top that off, the only two walks were from Brendan Roney.
Starter Ryan Cabarcas allowed six runs, three earned, and walked three. On a positive note, he struck out five. The bullpen gave up three more earned runs. Reliever Zac Lampton went into a long relief role and struck out five through 2.1 innings of work.
— FAU Baseball (@FAUBaseball) April 30, 2023
What’s Next for FIU?
FIU now travels to Daytona Beach to face off against the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats on Wednesday, May 3rd at 6pm. BCU is 21-20 on the season and 12-7 in the conference. The last time these two teams faced off against each other, the Panthers won in convincing fashion to a final score of 12-2.
The Panthers combined for a total of 12 hits, with Ryne Guida and Mike Rosario providing home runs, and the team combined for a total of 10 RBIs. FIU’s pitching staff was also solid as Jackson Ritchey threw two innings of one-hit baseball in which he struck out four. The bullpen combined for eight strikeouts and the Wildcats offense only had eight hits in which they scored two runs off of.
The conference matchup for the Panthers is against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers. These two teams have yet to play each other this season, so expect a lot of adjustments early on. Last season, when the Panthers faced the Hilltoppers, and a tightly contested matchup ended in a 6-5 win for the blue and gold.
Despite a tough outing against the FAU Owls, starter Ryan Cabracas has shown moments where he can shine, with a 5.69 ERA through 49.0 innings of action. The most notable game for Cabarcas was the one before his start against FAU, which was the final game of the UTSA series where he struck out eight in four innings of work, while only giving up two hits in the process.
Starter Jackson Ritchey has been able to provide length thus far. He’s pitched 23.2 innings in the season, but has been on the unlucky side of things for FIU as the team is on a seven-game losing streak when Ritchey pitches in a game. His best appearance of the season was against Stetson when he struck out six in four innings pitched. That was a season-high for him.
Putting up career-high numbers this season, Alec Sanchez is entering the final stage of his FIU career. He is expected to try to get drafted in the 2023 MLB draft, and at the pace that he is playing, a late-round draft selection is his best bet.
— FIU Baseball (@FIUBaseball) April 30, 2023
The WKU series will begin on Friday, May 5th at 6:30pm, with the Saturday game a bit earlier at 5pm. The final game of the series is on Sunday at noon.