FIU Baseball Drops Final Home Game of Season to Miami Hurricanes

FIU Baseball Miami hurricanes

Photo by Kevin Barral

MIAMI, FL – In the final game at the FIU Baseball Stadium this year, the FIU Panthers and the Miami Hurricanes squared off for the last time. For the third straight week, Joel Pineiro took the mound for the blue and gold, and Ben Chestnutt had the start for Canes.

Unfortunately, the Miami offense broke loose early in the game, and it was history from there as the Panthers pitching laid an egg and dropped the final home game of the season to a final score of 17-3.

Pineiro continues to get back into the swing of things after going through Tommy John Surgery in 2022. Prior to the game, Panthers Manager Rich Witten told us that Pineiro would have his pitch count increased and even threw a bullpen after the game against the Canes last Wednesday.

The redshirt freshman went three innings, struck out three, walked one, and gave up two runs (one earned) on three hits on a total of 50 pitches. Pineiro really worked into the counts tonight and most of his strikeouts were on secondary pitches which worked well for Pinero.

The only mistake for FIU’s pitcher came in the top of the third inning when he first hit Ian Farrow, then threw a wild pitch to advance Farrow to second. Then, Carlos Perez had a base hit that moved Ian Farrow to third base, and Jacoby Long hit a sacrifice bunt which scored Farrow and that tied the game up at one apiece.

“Yes, his (Pinero) development has been fantastic,” said coach Witten following the game. “He’s not in rehab protocol anymore, he’s a live arm for us and you know we’re gonna continue to extend him his pitch count but he’s gonna be somebody that we’re gonna try and count on for the rest of the season.”

As for Miami Hurricanes starter Ben Chestnutt, he threw two and one-third innings, struck out one, allowed four hits, and gave up one home run in the bottom of the first inning. Overall, Chestnutt pitched well for the Canes but ran into some trouble in the bottom of the third inning as he gave up back-to-back base hits to Roylan Quevedo and Dante Girardi.

In the bottom of the first inning, Alec Sanchez, who played his final home game ever at FIU, crushed a Oppo taco home run on a 1-0 count. This gave FIU an early 1-0 lead in the ballgame. Unfortunately, the Panthers were not able to gain any momentum in that inning following the home run.

“I was looking for a fastball over the plate,” said Alec Sanchez after the game. “I faced that guy probably three times now and he just beat me with fastballs the firs two times, so that’s what I was looking for.”

After Pinero, the Panthers went into their bullpen and Jackson Ritchey was the replacement. On the first pitch of the at-bat, true freshman Blake Cyr smashed a solo homer to extend the Hurricanes lead to 3-1.

Not long after, the offense would break loose. Ian Farrow would work the walk, Carlos Perez was hit by a pitch, Jacoby Long worked the walk, and that set the way for CJ Kayfus to crank an RBI single which scored both Farrow and Perez to extend the Miami lead to 5-1.

“Yeah, he’s (Ritchey) not commanding much of anything right now,” said coach Witten. “So you gotta be able to work  ahead in the count and bring in secondary off-speed pitch with you when you go in there and play against a good team.”

After Chestnutt’s night was finished, the Canes went with Chris Scinta. To put it in the best ways, the FIU offense turned this game into a home run derby. First, Ryne Guida crushed a solo home run to add on another run. This was Guida’s 10th homer of the season and it just continues to add to his draft stock, which is pretty high right now. Guida now reaches double-digit home runs and surpasses the 40 RBI marker.

After Scinta was able to work two quick outs, Craig Palidar, who also played in his final game at the FIU Baseball stadium, crushed a solo home run to left field which cut down the Hurricanes lead to just 5-3. This was Palidar’s third homer of the season and his tenth RBI of the season.

The FIU bullpen, which has struggled at times throughout the season, continued to do so in the top of the fifth inning. The lefty allowed a base hit to Yohandy Morales, and walked Blake Cyr and Dominic Pitelli to load the bases for Ian Farrow who had a sac fly that extended the lead to 6-3. Lampton would get out of the inning after striking out Carlos Perez.

After the sac fly, things didn’t get any better for the Panthers. In the top of the sixth inning, nine-hitter Jacoby Long crushed a solo home run to extend the Hurricane’s lead to 7-4. The reliever this time around was CJ McKennitt. The night didn’t get any better for McKennitt as he allowed a grand slam to Dominic Pitelli. McKennitt would be taken out of the game and the final line for him was 0.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 0 SO.

The top of the ninth inning marked the final time that Alec Sanchez would step foot on FIU Baseball stadium. “Honestly felt good, bittersweet,” said Sanchez after the game. “It’s kind of sad at the same time, but knowing we have something in front of us, makes me a little more happy.”

Unfortunately, the Panthers were unable to get anything else going offensively as the FIU Panthers dropped the final home game of the season and the final game against the Miami Hurricanes to a final score of 17-3. The Panthers now head over to Texas to face RICE University which is a must-win series for the Panthers if they do and FAU takes two out of three against UAB, FIU will be in the conference USA tournament.

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