fiu 12, stony brook 2

FIU Panthers sweeps Stony Brook, improves to 8-0 in 2014

 

dneal@MiamiHerald.com

It’s almost axiomatic that the last win of a sweep is the toughest to get. So did Sunday go for FIU against visiting Stony Brook, battered into submission the first two games without so much as sniffing a lead.

Sunday, Stony Brook took a lead. For half an inning.

Then junior third baseman Josh Anderson knocked in a few more runs, and FIU snatched back the lead and clobbered the Sea Wolves again, 12-2, to sweep the series by a combined 28-4 and go to 8-0 on the season for the first time since 2000.

Before an announced crowd of 449 that included former University of Miami football coach Butch Davis (current FIU coach Ron Turner came Saturday), FIU scored in the first inning for the eighth time in eight games.

When FIU coach Turtle Thomas talked about the Panthers’ hitting depth before the season, he likely had in mind days when No. 8 hitter and freshman catcher JC Escarra would go 3 for 4 with two RBI, as he did Sunday.

That got Escarra the day’s silver star for hitting, with the gold star going to Anderson, who went 4 for 5 with two doubles, a home run and six RBI.

Freshman right-hander Cody Crouse went four innings, gave up two hits and two runs (not in the same inning as the two hits) and struck out three. Another freshman, Chris Mourelle, took the ball from Crouse and gave up two hits while getting the victory.

Holding Stony Brook scoreless in 25 of 27 innings left FIU’s team ERA at 1.41 for the season.

And Stony Brook, along with Maine, came into this season as America East Conference co-favorites. The Sea Wolves, however, were starting their season after their first series against Southern Mississippi got wiped out by the weather.

On Sunday, Stony Brook starter Tim Knesnik almost got out of the first inning cleanly. But a walk to junior Aramis Garcia, who played first base Sunday after having what appeared to be leg cramps Saturday while catching, and Anderson’s double gave FIU a 1-0 lead.

A trio of errors among walks to Toby Handley and Kevin Courtney got Stony Brook its runs in the top of the third. But in the bottom of the third, junior Julius Gaines looped a single to center and Garcia walked, setting up Anderson.

On the eighth pitch of the at-bat, with a full count, Anderson cracked FIU’s third home run of the season (and weekend) over the left-field wall to give the Panthers a 4-2 lead.

FIU threatened in the fourth and fifth before Garcia’s bases-loaded single brought in two runs in the sixth. Anderson followed with a two-run double down the left-field line. Edwin Rios singled in Anderson, building FIU’s bulge to 9-2 and ending the competitive phase of the game.

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