William Duval | Staff Writer
FIU baseball finished 1-2 in a three-game series against the UTSA Roadrunners, reaching its finale on Sunday, April 23, 2023, at FIU Baseball Stadium in Miami, Florida.
Prior to this game, the Panthers took a last-minute 5-4 victory against FGCU Eagles in an eleven-inning epic, giving them a 15-22 record coming into this series.
The Roadrunners were ranked 22nd in Baseball America’s Top 25 rankings with a 28-9 record and proved their place there in the first game of the series.
Game 1 saw no scoring until the bottom of the second inning where FIU was on offense.
To start up the Panthers’ offense, junior Ryne Guida doubled down the infield line, eventually advancing to third due to a groundout.
Redshirt junior Henry Wallen used this opportunity to hit a single, allowing Guida to reach home plate and score, giving FIU an early 1-0 lead.
After the previous hitter got walked and loaded the bases, senior Antonio Valdez hit a single allowing both Diaz and Berry to score.
The Roadrunners’ steady offense gave them a 2-1 lead with FIU looking to respond.
To start the inning for the Panthers, redshirt senior Mike Rosario hit a home run, tying the game.
This would be followed by two FIU players hitting singles, ending with a Guida double and a score.
The Panthers quickly reclaimed the lead with a 3-2 score, and at this point is when the Roadrunners would begin to show their true nature.
UTSA quickly tied the game at the top of the fourth inning, following two hits and a flyout.
Three Roadrunners all followed this up by each contributing a single, loading the bases and allowing senior Taylor Smith to smash in a grand slam.
Claiming a massive 7-3 lead, UTSA was in the driver’s seat and never took its foot off the gas, going on to defeat FIU with a score of 22-8.
The second game of the series was much more competitive with the Panthers coming out of the gates fast.
To start their day on offense, FIU had three players hit singles and load the bases.
Junior Ruben Carpio saw the opportunity and took it, delivering a single of his own, allowing the Panthers to claim an early 1-0 lead.
UTSA immediately responded in the second inning with their first hitter getting walked and then Diaz hitting a two-run home run.
The scoring continued for the Roadrunners with two players also hitting a solo home run each, jumping out to a 4-1 advantage.
With the bases loaded, Carpio singled to left field, allowing Perez and Palidar to both score, cutting FIU’s deficit to 4-3.
After some wild pitching from the Panthers, UTSA claimed a 6-3 lead in the fifth inning.
Responding with four hits, resulting in three runs, the Panthers tied the game at 6-6 to end the fifth inning.
Unfortunately for FIU, their pitching mistakes would carry on into the sixth inning, where they walked UTSA’s first two hitters.
Redshirt junior Garrett Poston capitalized on the opportunity by rifling in a double, resulting in two scores for the Roadrunners.
Scoring their final run of the game, Berry singled to left field, allowing Poston to score, giving UTSA a 9-6 advantage.
Even though the Panthers scored two more times, their efforts were not enough, falling to the Roadrunners with a 9-8 score.
FIU played the series finale with much more energy as their offense started up in the first inning.
Junior Dante Girardi doubled for the Panthers’ first hit and later scored off a single from Carpio.
Claiming an early 1-0 lead, FIU scored two more times before UTSA could respond.
The Roadrunners’ only score of the game came during the sixth inning, which wasn’t enough to hold off the Panthers who would go on to win 6-1.
Coming off a 1-2 series, the Panthers look to take on FAU Owls in their next matchup. The game will be played on Friday, April 28, 2023, at FAU Baseball Stadium in Boca Raton, Florida.
First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. with the broadcast being aired on C-USA TV.
Follow William Duval on Twitter at @WillDuval40