Jacksonville Dolphins pounce on FIU errors, swim away with the win

Jacksonville Dolphins FIU's errors

Miami, Florida –ย Florida International’s losing streak continues following a 13-6 loss to the Jacksonville Dolphins jumping on many of FIU’s defensive errors. Kevin Martin lasted two innings requiring the bullpen to step up only to see them struggle all evening. Apart from stranding 12 on base, the team committed five errors. Digging deeper it gets worse.

The pitching staff threw five wild pitches combined including two from Martin. In addition, four batters were also hit. Matthew Gonzalez struggled from behind the plate as well. The fins were running rampant managing five steals on the freshman catcher. Offensively, the squad did what they could but the defensive miscues doomed them from the start. Falling to 7-9 FIU has now lost eight consecutive games.

Relapsing D

Blunders cost the Panthers three runs in the first inning. After Chase Malloy was HBP’ed to lead off the game, he attempted to steal second resulting in an errant throw from Gonzalez moving the runner to third. Jesus Pacheco then blooped an RBI single that was utterly misplayed by right fielder Dalton Hurst. As Hurst charged in the ball rolled underneath his glove allowing Jonah Diaz to score all the way from first. Pacheco pounced on a passed ball to make it 3-0 Dolphins. Jacksonville University jumped on another wild pitch in the second frame extending their lead.

Florida International was denied a golden opportunity (and redemption) to scratch some runs in the second.ย  Noel Perez drew the four-pitch walk loading the bases for Hurst. He struck out looking on the payoff pitch.

Regardless, the blue and gold found their spark in the third. With runners at the corners, Alec Sanchez blasted one to deep right for the three-run round-tripper. FIU tied it that same inning after Jackson Grabsky’s throw from third forced Christian Coipel off the bag. Perez made it on the error and Dante Girardi scored on the play.

Mounting mistakes

Blake DeLamielleure swung deep nearly homering to left-field in the fourth. Robert Sotolongo leaped up but was unable to glove it although the ball hit the top of the fence. It was ruled a double. The defensive woes returned with DeLamielleure scoring on yet another wild pitch. Bryan Loriga committed a big throwing error from third allowing two more runs giving JU a renewed 7-4 lead.
The Dolphins added deuces in the fifth via a supplemental wild pitch and a solo shot from Coipel to right field.
FIU showed life after the seventh-inning stretch.

Rey Hernandez crossed the plate on a wild pitch from the opposing pitcher while Perez scored on the Steven Ondina groundout. It was all the homeboys could muster. Jacksonville would go on to tack three more in the ninth for insurance which includes pinch-hitter Jake Berg slamming his first homer of the season. He took Mario Fernandez deep to right field on the first pitch.

Closing Thoughts

There’s an old adage that comes to mind: Errors extend innings. This was painfully present tonight. Aside from the tremendous leaping catch by Alec Sanchez back in the fourth, the defense was horrible. Jacksonville took advantage of these mistakes to full effect making the FIU Panthers pay dearly. Throw in the wild pitches, the steals, the hit batters and it just shows how ugly their performance was.

I can only imagine there has to be a growing sense of urgency now that the team is in the midst of an ugly eight-game losing streak. The last thing coach Mervyl Melendez wants is a demoralized team playing with zero drive and no heart.

Gus Bus Award

Alec Sanchez made the terrific grab and homered putting up three runs. He was one of the few bright spots Saturday night.

You’re Killing Me Smalls

Richie Pena’s outing was bad. When he came over to relieve Martin the sophomore gave up five runs (three earned) in 2.2 innings pitched. Pena walked two, plunked one, and tossed his own pair of wild pitches.

Photo | Albert Palacio

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