The last time FIU and Miami met in baseball was in 2008. The Panthers literally hung on to a 6-3 win at Mark Light Field. FIU took a 4-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning before the then-No. 1 ranked Hurricanes got three runs to close the gap to one run.
In the bottom of the eighth inning the Hurricanes loaded the bases with two outs against FIU right-hander James Lajiness before he was lifted. In came FIU closer Jorge Marban to face Yasmani Grandal, who drove a deep fly ball to the right field wall where FIU right fielder Raimy Fuentes (photo above) made the catch crashing into the fence. Marban closed out the Hurricanes in an uneventful ninth inning to get the save. The win is the only time an FIU team in any sport has beaten a No. 1 ranked team.
The Panthers will need a similar approach Friday night at the Coral Gables Regional. Like in the 2008 matchup FIU would benefit from an early run or two just to remind themselves it's just a baseball game. FIU scored a run in the third inning in the 2008 matchup.
The FIU bats are hot right now as they clobbered their way through the Conference USA championship. However, the Panthers will see some of the better pitching Friday that they have seen this season. If FIU can get some early runs for starter Andres Nunez and the freshman right-hander goes six or seven effective innings then you have to like FIU's chances turning it over to the bullpen with power arms Willie Durruthy and Danny Dopico.
Here's a video preview of Friday's game.
CLICK HERE to access the FIU Sports Radio Network.
14 YEARS AGO. . . .
FIU News took a look back at the 2001 FIU Super Regional team that won the Notre Dame Regional and went on to the program's only Super Regional the following week against USC.
Former FIU catcher Tommy Duenas shared his experiences of the season. CLICK HERE to read the story and listen to Duenas.