Brian Olmo | Sports Director
FIU Athletics had an eventful week, headlined by women’s swimming and diving competing in the NCAA tournament and a cross-town rivalry game between the Panthers and Miami Hurricanes baseball teams.
With their bats sizzling hot, the Panthers took an early 2-0 lead in the first. Sophomore Marcus O’Malley hit a single and junior Dante Girardi snagged a double to set up junior Ryne Guida, who smashed a single to right field and scored two runs.
After the Hurricanes tied the game with a two-run home run, FIU regained the advantage in the fourth off a powerful hit by redshirt senior Mike Rosario to score.
But that’s where the fun ended for FIU.
Miami shut down FIU for the last five innings. The Hurricanes exploded for four runs in the ninth, ending the game with a double and another home run to give them the win, 7-3.
The story for the Hurricanes in this one was junior Jack Scanlon, who, after going hitless in his first 13 at-bats, came alive like Frankenstein’s monster and put on a show against the Panthers. Scanlon hit his first home run of the year in the third to tie the game up before scoring yet again in the fifth.
Swimming and Diving:
Swimming and Diving ended their season with two top-25 finishes in the NCAA Championships from March 17-18 in Knoxville, TN. Sophomore swimmer Christie Chue and graduate diver Maha Gouda represented the Panthers in the event.
Chue opened the tournament with a 16th-place finish in the 100-breaststroke, setting a program record for FIU with a 59.10 time – good enough for 11th fastest in prelims.
The next day, she swam the 200-breaststroke, finishing 23rd overall with a time of 2:09.58.
Gouda finished 14th in the platform dive, scoring 258.60 in the prelims before recording a 257.05 in the B-Final to mark her second top-16 finish at the NCAAs since her freshman year.
Both Gouda and Chue take home All-American Honorable Mention honors as the Panthers wrap up their 2022-2023 season.
Women’s tennis kept their eight-game win streak alive, winning all their matches against Columbia, East Tennessee State and Yale at the FIU Tennis Courts.
The team opened the week with a hard-fought match against the Columbia Lions.
After clinching the doubles point by the skin of its teeth, FIU met with stiff resistance by the Lions in singles play, as Columbia downed freshman Ekaterina Khairutdinova in straight sets to tie the match at 3-3.
Thanks to the heroics of graduate Kamila Umarova, the Panthers won the match 4-3 to remain a perfect 7-0 at home.
FIU continued to act as an unstoppable force with no immovable object in sight as it rolled East Tennessee State and Yale, 4-2 and 5-2 respectively.
East Tennessee fell in doubles and tried to mount a comeback in singles, but Umarova once again secured the match-clinching win for the second time in a row.
Yale didn’t fare much better, falling to FIU on Senior Day as the Panthers finished the week with a 12-3 overall record.
Softball dropped to the LA Tech Lady Techsters in a three-game series, 2-1, from March 17-18 at Felsberg Field.
Game 1 saw the Panthers get blown out 12-3 behind a season-high 12 hits and second inning grand slam from LA Tech junior Brooke Diaz. Diaz led the way offensively with four RBIs.
One of the few bright spots for FIU in the first game was freshman Ella Whitney, who broke a program record for the most consecutive hits with eight, going a perfect 4-4 in this game and one prior against Charlotte.
FIU’s only win came in the second game, where junior pitcher Sydney Birling had her first complete-game shutout to lead the team to a 1-0 victory. Birling held the Lady Techsters to five hits and zero runs over seven innings.
In the series finale, the Panthers would score in the first two innings before being shut out for the rest of the game. The Lady Techsters capitalized off a massive seventh inning, scoring seven runs off a three-run home run by Diaz and securing the win, 10-2.
The Panthers conclude the week with a 15-15 overall record and a 2-4 conference record.
Follow Brian Olmo on Twitter at @Brian_Olmo11