Cardenas's Sterling Relief & Rios's 2-Run Double Key FIU 7-4 Win Over Middle Tennessee
FIU received sterling relief pitching from Albert Cardenas (photo above) and a key two-run double from Edwin Rios to defeat Middle Tennessee, 7-4, and win the three-game series in Murfreesboro, Tennessee on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, the Panthers improved to 22-16 overall and 10-7 in the Sun Belt Conference. The Blue Raiders dropped to 21-20 and 6-11 in the SBC.
Cardenas (1-0) delivered 5 1/3 relief innings and allowed just three hits and one earned run to pick up the win. The senior right-hander relieved starter Mike Franco, who moved from his usual Sunday start to Saturday. Franco went 3 2/3 innings and allowed
With the score tied 3-3 in the top of the fifth, FIU scored twice to take a 5-3 edge it would not relinquish. Zach Sweety led off the fifth with a double to right center. Aramis Garcia followed with a single to right to set up runners at second and third
base. Rios then ripped an opposite field double to the left center gap driving in both runners. It was Rios’s team-leading 37th and 38th RBI of the season.
FIU added insurance runs in the seventh and eighth innings. In the seventh, Garcia hit his team-leading ninth home run. The solo shot to left made it 6-3 Panthers. In the eighth, Tyler Hibbert walked with the bases loaded to drive in Nathan Burns.
Sweety and T.J. Shantz each was 2 for 4 for FIU. Garcia and Rios were each 2 for 5. Rios improved his team-leading batting average to .376. Sweety is second on the team with a .358 average.
The Panthers go for the sweep of the Blue Raiders on Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m.