Miami, FL – On a cold and windy night at the FIU Baseball Stadium, a rivalry was renewed. The Miami Hurricanes came into town to face the FIU Panthers who were on an eight-game winning streak. The Canes, on the other hand, just suffered a 14-4 loss against the NC State Wolfpack.
It was an even matchup from the very beginning, with the Panthers coming out on top early, but the Canes roared back to tie the game up. After a few innings of pitchers dominating the game, FIU couldn’t stop Miami’s offense in the top of the ninth, as four runs in one inning sealed the game in favor of the U by a score of 7-3.
On the mound for FIU was Angel Tiburcio, who has been lights-out for the Panthers this season. On the other end of the dugout, Gallo Ronaldo is the man on the mound for the U.
The Blue and Gold Strike First
FIU wasted no time putting up runs as they’ve done all season. With two men on base, power hitter Ryne Guida smacked an RBI double driving in both Marcus O’Malley and Dante Girardi. So far this season, Guida has been an RBI machine with 23 this season, which is a career-high for him.
Not only did the offense look good early on, but so did the pitching. Angel Tiburcio pitched a flawless two-innings where he did not allow a run, struck out one, but did allow two hits. Overall, Tiburcio got the job done and maybe could have gone the distance with two more innings.
A Storm Starts to Roll in
Something that has been mentioned before – and by many was even considered the headline of this game – was the fact that the Canes aren’t as good as we have seen them in years past. This still doesn’t change the fact that UM will score runs and do it at all costs.
In the top of the 3rd inning, catcher Jack Scanlon hit a two-run homer to tie the game. This would be Scanlon’s first homer of the season and it comes off of Orlando Hernandez who had a rough outing but looked solid nonetheless, striking out two hitters.
— Miami Hurricanes Baseball (@CanesBaseball) March 15, 2023
A Power Surge from the Panthers
After both teams exchanged their runs early on, former Miami Hurricane Mike Rosario got the Panthers back on top by a score of 3-2. The man who scored the run? Well, that was another former Cane, Henry Wallen.
Both Rosario and Wallen have been integral parts of FIU so far this season as Rosario has been an RBI machine as well as one of the team leaders in home runs. Wallen on the other hand has been making his impact now during this big win streak.
— FIU Baseball (@FIUBaseball) March 16, 2023
The Canes from Coral Gables didn’t back down though. With the bases loaded, pitcher Jackson Ritchey threw a wild pitch which got by the catcher, allowing a clear lane for another run.
Although Ritchey allowed a run, he also had himself a nice outing. Going two innings, allowing one run, striking out two, and only walking one, he certainly kept the Panthers in this game.
Claw and Awe to no Avail
For tonight’s game, the Hurricanes decided to go with Gallo Ronaldo as their starter. With an ERA over 17.oo, the Canes thought that this was a good time for Ronaldo to come in and make a good start, but that wasn’t quite the case.
Allowing five hits, two walks, and two runs, Miami’s pitcher really didn’t bounce back. Luckily, he did show some signs of being able to produce outs. With three strikeouts in the game, he was able to keep the FIU offense quiet after the initial two runs.
A big strength for the U is their backend pitching. Aside from the run in the fourth inning, the Hurricanes have been perfect. Producing five strikeouts as a whole and not allowing a single run, the Canes have looked good.
A Late Power Surge Seals the Deal
In the top of the ninth with the game tied at three runs each, the Panthers decided to go with reliever CJ Mckennit, who entered this game with an 11.00 ERA. It is fair to say that the ERA went up and that the Hurricanes hurt the Panthers when it hurt the most.
With CJ Kayfus on base, Edgardo Villegas hits an RBI double to give the Canes a 4-3 lead. This would mark the beginning of the end of the game for FIU. A simple roller to Steven Ondina was thrown incorrectly and that allowed another run to score.
Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, it did. Pinch hitter Jacoby Long, who had not played in this game, hit a two-run homer which would end up being the dagger.
Eddy comes through with a go-ahead double in the ninth!
Miami 4, FIU 3 pic.twitter.com/CV69K7ehZq
— Miami Hurricanes Baseball (@CanesBaseball) March 16, 2023
Final: 7-4, Hurricanes Win
Although the Panthers put plenty of runners on base, the defense fell apart in the end against a nationally regarded team. This would mark the seventh straight loss for the Panthers against Miami, with their last win coming in April of 2018.
“Honestly, I think we could play with them for sure,” said Ryne Guida. “There isn’t a guy on this team that can’t handle their pitching and I think that we’re really damn good ball club. I’m really excited to play them again because I think we got a really good chance to kick in there.”
The Panthers will now travel to Texas to begin conference play against the Dallas Baptist Patriots, with game one being on Friday, March 17th at 6:30pm. FIU now has an 11-7 record so far this season.