Panthers Pound the Owls, 12-1, in Mercy-Rule Win
3/17/2013 6:00:00 PM


FIU unleashed its bats in a 10-run third inning en route to thrashing Florida Atlantic, 12-1 on Sunday afternoon at the FAU Baseball Stadium in Boca Raton.

The game ended after seven innings due to the Sun Belt Conference's 10-run mercy rule for Sunday games.

Trailing 1-0 in the top of the third inning, the Panthers opened the inning with four consecutive hits to take a 2-1 lead. Julius Gaines's RBI double scored T.J. Shantz, who led off the inning with a single, to tie the score.

Zach Sweety followed Gaines and singled home Tyler Hibbert, who singled, with the go-ahead run. The Panthers sent six batters to the plate before the Owls could record the first out in the third inning. By then FIU led 6-1.

FIU batted around in the third inning. Every player in the Panthers lineup scored at least one run in the third inning except Aramis Garcia, who had an RBI single in the inning, but was forced out at second base on a ground ball. Gaines and Hibbert each scored two runs in the third inning.

Gaines was 2 for 5 with three RBI. Garcia and Josh Anderson were each 2 for 4 with an RBI. Hibbert was 2 for 2.

FIU right-hander Mike Franco, 11 months removed from Tommy John surgery, had his best outing of the season. Franco (3-1), who is on a strict pitch count, pitched five innings, allowed just one run and four hits. Albert Cardenas pitched the final two innings.

The Panthers next travel to Fort Myers on Wednesday for a game with No. 23 Florida Gulf Coast at 6:30 p.m. FIU returns home for a three-game series against WKU beginning Friday at 6 p.m.

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