FIU jumped on Florida A&M early in Wednesday’s matinee and went on to sweep the two-game series with an 8-4 victory at the FIU Baseball Stadium. The Panthers collected 14 hits and received shutout relief from their bullpen to improve to 17-12.
The Panthers scored five runs on five hits in the first inning to take a 5-0 lead. FIU batters hit for the natural cycle -- single, double, triple and home run in successive order – in the bottom of the first inning against Rattlers starting pitcher Christopher
After Zach Sweety reached on a hit by pitch and advanced two bases on a wild pitch, Aramis Garcia singled to score Sweety. Edwin Rios followed with a double to score Garcia. Josh Anderson then had an RBI groundout before Nathan Burns tripled. Next came
T.J. Shantz, who ripped a two-run home run high and deep over the left field wall to drive in the fourth and fifth FIU runs of the inning.
Shantz’s home run was his fifth of the season and second of the series. The senior second baseman tied Anderson and Garcia for the team lead in home runs.
Anderson added an RBI single and an RBI double in the second and sixth innings, respectively. Anderson was 2 for 5 with three RBI on the afternoon.
The Panthers finished their scoring on an RBI double from Sweety in the seventh inning. Sweety led FIU going 3 for 4 with an RBI and three runs scored.
Julius Gaines, Rios, Anderson and Tyler Hibbert each had two hits for the Panthers.
Freshman right-hander Alex Seibold relieved starter Dillon Maya in the fourth inning. Seibold (1-1) pitched 4 1/3 scoreless innings to record his first collegiate win. Charlie Cormier and Albert Cardenas finished the ballgame. Cardenas came on in the ninth
with the potential tying run on deck and struck out the two batters he faced to record his first save of the season. In the process Cardenas lowered his team leading ERA to 0.81.
The Panthers leave Florida for the first time this season Thursday when they head to Mobile, Alabama. FIU opens a three-game series at South Alabama on Friday night. First pitch is set for 7:30 p.m.