FIU 7, South Alabama 4 (pdf)
FIU’s bats jumped on South Alabama early Sunday and right-hander Mike Franco picked up another win to lead the Panthers to a 7-4 victory over the Jaguars in the series finale in Mobile.
The Panthers (18-14, 6-6 Sun Belt) gave Franco an early 6-0 lead on the Jaguars (24-9, 7-5 SBC). Franco, who is one year removed from Tommy John surgery, was again on a pitch count Sunday. Franco went 5 1/3 innings, allowed three hits and two runs to record
his team-leading fifth win of the season.
Franco was sharp from the start as he retired 13 of the first 14 batters he faced. It marked the third time in four starts this season that Franco got a win after an FIU loss. Franco, called FIU’s stopper by coach Turtle Thomas, improved to 5-1.
Mitchell Davis pitched the final 3 2/3 innings and allowed one earned run to record his third save of the season.
FIU batters gave Franco plenty of early run support in Sunday’s game. In the top of the first inning after Aramis Garcia and Edwin Rios were walked by South Alabama starter Tripp Cecil, Josh Anderson hit a two-run double down the right field line.
The Panthers added four runs in the top of the fourth inning. Rios led off the inning with his team-leading sixth home run of the season to left. Anderson singled, advanced on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Oscar Aguirre. Roche Woodard followed with
his first home run of the season -- a two-run shot to left to make it 6-0 FIU.
Rios added an RBI double in the seventh inning to cap off the FIU scoring. Both Rios and Anderson finished 2 for 3 with two RBI. Rios and Anderson are tied for the team lead with 29 RBI. Woodard was 2 for 4 with two RBI.
FIU returns home to host ULM for a three-game series this coming weekend, April 12-14. The first pitch of the series opener on Friday is at 6 p.m. from the FIU Baseball Stadium. Saturday’s game is at 4 p.m. and Sunday’s series finale is at 1 p.m.
Fans can watch all FIU home baseball games on PantherVision at FIUSports.com.