Baseball: FAU falls to FIU 9-7

Mark Gibson

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FAU played its first Sun Belt Conference game of the season losing to Florida International University 9-7 on Friday, March 18, in Boca Raton.

The Panthers took the early lead as they scored two runs in the top of the first, but the Owls quickly answered as they got on board with four runs in the bottom of the inning. It started with a two-run RBI by shortstop Nick DelGuidice. Then, designated hitter Eddie Cassidy was hit by a pitch, allowing first baseman Dan Scheffler to cross the plate.

The final score of the inning came from a sacrifice fly ball by third baseman Joey Burkhalter bringing DelGuidice across the plate, giving the Owls a 4-2 lead.

In the top of the fourth, FIU managed to tie the game as FAU starting pitcher Ryan Garton balked, bringing a Panther runner across the plate. The tying run came from an RBI single by third baseman Jeremy Patton.

FIU continued to score runs as they knocked three solo home runs in the game. The first came in the fourth by left fielder Jabari Henry, the next in the seventh from designated hitter T.J. Shantz, and the third in the eighth inning by Mike Martinez.

By the bottom of the seventh, with FAU down 8-4, they managed to bring in three runs to narrow the Panthers’ lead as Scheffler scored an RBI single and left fielder Alex Hudak scored a two-run RBI.

FAU wasn’t able to score any more runs, as Martinez knocked in the final run for FIU, giving them the 9-7 victory.

“We just [have] to be better,” said head coach John McCormack. “We’ve talked about it a lot, and maybe we’ve talked about it too much. We need to be more consistent and generate runs more than just two innings.”

FAU will play game 2 of the three-game series against FIU on Saturday, March 19, at 4 p.m. in Boca Raton.