FIU scored early and often Saturday afternoon to defeat ULM, 9-4, and even the three-game series.
The Panthers (19-15, 7-7 Sun Belt) scored six runs in the first two innings and tacked on three more runs in the seventh inning en route to the victory over the Warhawks (14-21, 4-10).
Down 2-1 in the bottom of the second inning, the Panthers plated five runs to grab a 6-2 advantage. Two walks by ULM starter Shelby Aulds (3-4) and two errors by shortstop Kodie Tidwell ignited the five-run inning. The walks and the errors set up Zach Sweety
to deliver an RBI single. Aramis Garcia followed with an RBI double and Edwin Rios produced his second sacrifice fly of the game to help the Panthers take the lead.
Freshman right-hander Alex Seibold (2-1) provided 2 2/3 solid relief innings to pick up the win. Albert Cardenas pitched the final three innings to record his second save. Cardenas held the Warhawks scoreless to lower his ERA to 0.53.
ULM narrowed the FIU lead to 6-4 in the seventh inning, but the Panthers added three runs in the bottom of the seventh.
With one out in the bottom of the seventh, Garcia (photo above) belted his sixth home run of the season, a line drive to the left of the scoreboard in left field. Garcia’s home run tied Rios for the team lead.
Rios then singled and came around to score on Nathan Burns’s RBI triple to right center. Burns scored on T.J. Shantz’s infield hit in the hole between third base and shortstop to complete the FIU scoring on Saturday afternoon.
Sweety and Garcia each finished 2 for 4. Garcia and Rios each had two RBI.
The Panthers and Warhawks play the rubber game of the three-game series Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. Fans can watch all FIU baseball home games on PantherVision at FIUSports.com.