The FIU baseball team might be in a bit of a slump, but the Panthers aren’t going down without a fight.
FIU’s losing streak reached seven after it lost to No. 19 Rice 6-5 in 10 innings on Saturday afternoon at FIU Baseball Stadium.
But despite another check in the loss column, the Panthers showed some late-game spark.
“Our guys battled their butts off in the ninth and 10th innings,” FIU coach Turtle Thomas said. “We swung the bat well against one of the best closers in the country. What we’ve got to do is put all three parts of the game together on a consistent basis.”
And Saturday night the missing part was the pitching.
Junior Ty Sullivan pitched 6 2/3 innings in the losing effort and surrendered three runs, two unearned, off three walks and two hits.
The Owls had a 3-1 lead going into the bottom of the ninth when the bats came alive.
Zach Sweeny stroked a single and Edwin Rios reached on a double. They were driven in by catcher Aramis Garcia to take it to extra innings.
Garcia, who hit his third home run of the season in the second, said one of the best qualities of this young team is their fight.
“If there is one thing this team does well it’s that we never back down,” Gracias said. “We are always going to fight till the last out.”
In the top of the 10th, the Owls manufactured three more runs on three hits and two walks against Panthers reliever Dillon Maya.
The Panthers fought back, answering with two additional runs in the bottom of the 10th, but they came up short.
FIU collected six of its 10 hits in the last two innings.
“There is never a day that we dwell on a loss or a win,” Garcia said. “We are just taking it game by game and looking forward to the next day.”
FIU will play the final game of the three-game series at 11 a.m. Sunday.