Florida International scored seven runs then held off a ninth-inning comeback by Texas Tech in a 9-7 victory Monday night at FIU Baseball Stadium.
“Early on the pitching was real good, and it looks like we’re starting to warmup with the bats,” said FIU coach Turtle Thomas, whose team collected 16 hits. “We’ve got nine guys in the lineup from top to bottom that can hit.”
After senior center fielder Brennan Moore’s sacrifice fly to shallow center with the bases loaded and one out gave the Red Raiders a 3-2 lead in the third, the Panthers manufactured consecutive two-run innings en route to their fourth win in a row.
In the fourth, FIU (7-1) scored a pair of runs on three consecutive hits following a throwing error by the second baseman.
With senior right fielder Nathan Burns on first, sophomore center fielder Roche Woodard doubled to right-center. Sophomore shortstop Julius Gaines’ chopper then went over the third baseman’s glove for the game-tying RBI single. Junior left fielder Zach Sweety produced the game-winning RBI single to right on a hit and run.
The Panthers chased starting right-hander Matt Withrow (1-1) into the fifth after he gave up six runs and nine hits.
Senior second baseman T.J. Shantz hit his third homer of the season — a solo shot to left on a 2-1 pitch. Junior reliever Andre Wheeler deflected Burns’ infield single with his glove with runners at the corners, which made it 6-3.
FIU added three insurance runs in the eighth off Wheeler.
Junior left-hander Ty Sullivan (2-1) went five-plus innings, allowing three runs on eight hits. Freshman right-hander Dillon Maya pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings of relief with five strikeouts and just two hits.
Senior left-hander Mike Gomez collected his fourth save in 1 2/3 innings, but gave up four runs to the Red Raiders (4-4) in the ninth.
Sophomore shortstop Tim Proudfoot came to the plate as the tying run and flied out to end the game.
“In the Manhattan series we scored excess and here tonight the excess paid off,” said Sweety, whose team tallied 40 runs in the three-game series.
Christina De Nicola