MONROE, La. -- It's Championship Sunday. No. 8 seed UALR (23-32) vs. No. 2 seed FIU (40-17-1) in a winner-take-all Sun Belt Championship Game. Both the Trojans and Panthers swept through their respective brackets and went 3-0 in pool play to get here.
It is a scorcher of an afternoon here at Warhawk Field. A hot wind blowing out to left field and a lot of heat. Game time temperature is 91 degrees. FIU swept UALR in Little Rock, Arkansas in late April, but that is ancient history as far as today is concerned. The Trojans are as hot as the Panthers are right now having defeated Troy, WKU and Florida Atlantic to get to the championship game. FIU decided not to play nine innings in any of its games going extra innings against Arkansas State and Louisiana and playing just seven innings in the 11-0 rout of South Alabama.
UALR is the visiting team in this game and will send their ace senior right-hander Travis Henke (1-5, 4.82 ERA) on three days rest. Henke shut down Troy on Wednesday throwing 122 pitches. Danny DeSimone (5-2, 3.67 ERA) goes for the Panthers and will be backed up by a full and rested bullpen that will include everyone, but Phil Haig and R.J. Fondon.
Earlier this season, FIU handed Henke a loss and got to him for 10 hits and 5 runs in a 13-1 win. DeSimone went four innings, allowed nine hits and two earned runs in his start against UALR in April. He got a no-decision in a 17-7 FIU win.
WE EXPECT HEAVY TRAFFIC (I-95 at Rush Hour on a Friday) FOR TODAY'S BLOG SO WHEN I ASK YOU TO LIMIT YOUR COMMENTS AT CERTAIN POINTS IN THE GAME -- PLEASE DO SO I CAN GET YOU THE PLAY-BY-PLAY A LOT QUICKER -- ESPECIALLY FOR THOSE OF YOU WITHOUT CSS ON YOUR TVs. THANK YOU.