Miami, Florida – It’s come down to this, round four of the season series between the Miami Hurricanes and FIU Panthers. The Battle of the 305’s conclusion. Taking place during the final week of the 2023 regular season. As a refresher, the last four-game slate for these crosstown teams was back in 2017 when Florida International took three out of four kicking off a relatively brief two-year period of Panther dominance over their neighbors.
The stakes remain high for both sides. UM fights for a national seed where an unexpected non-conference loss to FIU could have potential consequences RPI-wise. The implications would sharpen if coupled with any possible setbacks versus Duke this weekend. The Panthers, meanwhile, have a legitimate chance at making the postseason due to C-USA’s playoff format. Florida International has one last shot at sneaking a win at home where they are 18-16. In this instance, Miami has beyond bragging rights to play for.
📺: ACCNX pic.twitter.com/wYmkHIiwNa
— Miami Hurricanes Baseball (@CanesBaseball) May 10, 2023
What started off as a pitching duel suddenly ended with the mercy rule. After five scoreless innings, the Hurricanes surged with five runs in the sixth repeating the run production in the seventh abruptly ending the game. Coach Gino DiMare forgot to tell everyone the mutual agreement of its potential implementation at the pre-game umpires meeting. Nine of UM’s 11 hits came in the last two innings walloping Florida International 10-0 for the 3-0 series lead.
Well, that'll do it for tonight!
10-0 win for the Hurricanes 🙌
📺: ACCNX pic.twitter.com/q0suA9d3V0
— Miami Hurricanes Baseball (@CanesBaseball) May 11, 2023
What Happened Since
With less than a week between meetings, there’s some really quick turnaround. The Canes won on the road taking two out of three against Pitt keeping them dug in at No. 11 in D1 Baseball’s Top 25 Rankings. Blake Cyr had a good weekend with contributions from Yohandy Morales, CJ Kayfus, Dominic Pitelli, and Zach Levenson among others. The pitching bent but did not break.
FIU won its first series in two months also taking two of three versus Charlotte. Dante Girardi, Alec Sanchez, Ryne Guida, and Bryan Loriga produced giving the team some sorely needed W’s. They’re tied for 8th with Rice in the Conference USA standings, the last spot for the 2023 C-USA Baseball Championship. The top 8 teams following the regular season will advance to play a double-elimination tournament. Guess who they play in the final weekend of the 2023 season? Yep, it’s the Owls. The winner of the series grabs the last train to Houston, Texas. It’s worth mentioning the tourney is being hosted by them so they have plenty of incentive.
— FIU Baseball (@FIUBaseball) May 14, 2023
Switching back to the Hurricanes, coach DiMare stated ahead of time that Karson Ligon would not pitch against Pittsburgh. His status for the crucial showdown with Duke at the Light remains unknown. Miami is within striking distance of a national seed meaning they likely have to win at a minimum, three of their final four games including a series victory over the Blue Devils. If not, there’s always the ACC tournament.
Ronaldo Gallo pitched a pair of innings on Sunday, I don’t expect him to start. It’s likely Ben Chestnutt, Alejandro Torres, or even Chris Scinta getting the rock. The Blue and Gold could always send out Joel Pineiro again or tap Daniel McAuliff. Lastly, when it comes to the result, well, UM is not going to lose this one. It’s the twilight of the season and they will try to position themselves for a national seed as best they can. For those wondering, Miami’s RPI is 18 while Florida International’s stands at 187. For round four The Hurricanes will sweep the season series beating the FIU Panthers handily 9-3. Both teams score this time. The Panthers had their chance earlier in the season and it’s going to come down to who wants it more which all indications point to Miami.