college baseball | FIU

FIU lineup to test Rice star Lemond


Friday: Rice

at FIU

When/where: 6 p.m.; FIU Baseball Stadium.

Records: Rice (12-6, 2-1 Conference USA); FIU (16-1, 3-0).

Expected starters: Rice — Zech Lemond (2-0, 1.02 ERA); FIU — Mike Franco (3-0, 1.07).

As an early season series, FIU’s three games against Rice at FIU Baseball Stadium this weekend mean more as a Pepsi Challenge comparison than in the Conference USA standings.

Only FIU swept its first conference series of the season, and no C-USA team holds a better overall record than the Panthers’ 16-1 mark. But preseason conference favorite Rice has the higher ranking in most of the college baseball polls. An exception is Collegiate Baseball, which has FIU at No. 19 and Rice at No. 29.

The Owls have gotten that ranking through reputation as annual NCAA tournament participants and competition. Of their 12 wins, four are against ranked teams and three are on the road. Three of their six losses came to teams ranked at the time and a fourth was to Sam Houston State, which now sits at No. 18 in the Baseball America poll.

Rice’s ace starter coming into the season, preseason all-conference pick Jordan Stephens, left two innings into a 2-0 loss to Texas after allowing one hit, getting three strikeouts and walking one. That’s the last Stephens pitched before undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Last Friday against Old Dominion, Rice started record-setting reliever Zech Lemond, the preseason C-USA Pitcher of the Year, and Rice coach Wayne Graham declared afterward that Lemond is now Rice’s top starter.

Whoever Rice throws will face an FIU lineup that has been held under five runs only in a 3-0 loss to Dartmouth.

Get around current Conference USA Hitter of the Week Aramis Garcia and you find Josh Anderson, who is second in the nation in hits (31). Both have 11-game hitting streaks and .431 batting averages.

All five FIU starters — Mike Franco, Mike Ellis, Robby Kalaf, Cody Crouse and Christopher Mourelle — have ERAs under 2.00.

FIU will send out Franco (3-0, 1.07 ERA) for Friday night’s series opener.

Read more FIU stories from the Miami Herald

FILE - In this Dec. 27, 2013, file photo, Marshall's quarterback Rakeem Cato throws in the first half of the Military Bowl NCAA college football game against Maryland in Annapolis, Md. This year, Marshall, which joined Conference USA in 2005, is the preseason favorite.

    In My Opinion

    David J. Neal: FIU, FAU can derail Marshall, affect first College Football Playoff

    Conference USA football coaches solidly picked FIU to finish last in the league’s East Division.

  • FIU notebook

    FIU Panthers on the radio

    FIU and 1210 AM ESPNDeportes Miami announced an agreement Friday that brings Golden Panthers football back to conventional radio after two seasons broadcasting over handheld mobile devices. The station will broadcast all 12 regular-season games, with pregame and postgame analysis.

  • FIU Football

    FIU Panthers will don colorful uniform combinations

    FIU’s mix-and-match uniform combinations will include the return of gold pants this year. They will be worn only with the dark blue tops, according to the school’s athletics website. Also, FIU’s helmets will be a new shade of blue.

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category