Miami, FL – One of the biggest South Florida rivalries in baseball is back. The FIU Panthers, on an eight-game winning streak, and Miami Hurricanes will be meeting four times this season, beginning with a mid-week matchup at MMC.
Looking back in time, the Panthers haven’t fared well at all against the Canes. Their last win came in April of 2018, and they haven’t come close to a win since then. Included in the FIU six-game losing streak versus the Hurricanes is last year’s matchup which ended up a 17-1 loss against in Coral Gables. The all-time record for FIU against Miami is 6-11.
The Hurricanes Arrive to Miami
So far this season, the Canes are 8-4 which include big wins against the Penn State Nittany Lions, Florida Gators, and Stetson Hatters, thanks in part by some amazing hitting thanks to star Yohandy Morales.
Although we can hype up the Canes and talk about how good they’ve looked, we can also mention how vulnerable they have been as well. With losses to teams such as the FAU Owls, NC State Wolfpack, and Jacksonville Dolphins, there is as high a chance in a long time that FIU can upset UM.
This season, Morales is slashing .383/.443/.683/1.126 with five homeruns and 20 RBIs. Morales is expected to be one of the top selections in the 2023 MLB draft and expect him to make his mark against the Panthers.
Bori bomba número tres!
— Miami Hurricanes Baseball (@CanesBaseball) March 11, 2023
Another name that stands out is outfielder Edgardo Villegas, who has been on a tear this season, racking up .314/.456/.569/1.025 with three homers and 12 RBIs. Villegas will be able to have a nice game against the Cats if he can get to FIU’s pitching early into the game and can be a great addition to the one-two punch of Morales and Villegas.
The Hurricanes also have some excellent freshman talent which is led by second baseman Blake Cyr. This season, Cyr is collecting .391/.462/.761/1.222 with five homers and 22 RBIs. Something that isn’t too encouraging, however, is the fact that Cyr has struck out 15 times this season and has only walked three times.
This not only shows his impatience at the plate but also shines some hope that if FIU can get some pitches in the right spot, Cyr will bite and swing at some pitches.
C..J. Kayfus will be a player that we will hear about going in the draft. Although he has struggled a little bit this season, he will be a player that Panthers pitching staff will need to keep an eye out for, because if Kayfus needs a breakout game, this could be that game. This season, Kayfus is averaging .250/.375/.467/.842 with two homers and seven RBIs.
— Miami Hurricanes Baseball (@CanesBaseball) March 13, 2023
Looking at the bullpen, Andrew Walters is the name to keep an eye out for. Earning first-team all-American honors last year as a closer, Walters entered the year as the best closer in the country. Already posting a 0 ERA and one save through four games, Walters will be a late-inning option for the Canes if this game is closer than expected.
The Panthers Have Been Red Hot
FIU’s offense has been an integral part of their success as of late. Scoring 18 runs against Harvard in game one of the doubleheader, then scoring double-digit runs in each game against Marist is nothing short of impressive. It’s the big reason why the Panthers have won eight straight games.
— FIU Athletics (@FIUAthletics) March 12, 2023
A big piece of the offense has been Ryne Guida who is slashing .349/.438/.561/.998 with three homers and 23 RBIs. Other big pieces of the offense include the pair of Miami transfers Mikey Rosario and Henry Wallen.
Rosario this season is putting up career numbers- .371/.436/.629/1.065 with four homers and 14 RBIs. Rosario is showing many what he could have done with the U and is someone who I expect to see have a good game on Wednesday against his former team.
Finally, former Hurricanes infielder, Wallen, has been someone who has impressed late into this FIU winning streak. In 13 games so far, Wallen is hitting .311/.400/.467/.867 with two homers and 14 RBIs. Expect Wallen to also have a big series if he is in the lineup.
Other News and Notes
- For FIU, Jackson Ritchey this season has a 2-0 record along with a 0 ERA. In his last start against Stetson, Ritchey struck out six and went 4.0 innings.
- Although he has played nine games this season for the Panthers, Alec Sanchez is slashing .314/.314/.457/.771 with one homer and one RBI. Unfortunately, he has been dealing with some nagging injuries.
- As mentioned in last night’s episode of the Paws Up Podcast, The Dan Le Batard Show’s very own Billy Gil will be throwing out the first pitch at the game.
I do believe that this is the year that the rivalry will be close and that we will see it being renewed.
FIU – 5
UM – 3
MVP – Mike Rosario