FIU, Bethune-Cookman 4

Rios provides FIU’s spark with bat and glove

 

dneal@MiamiHerald.com

Some games have no particular turning point. They muddle along, various successions of plays shaping a lumpy final product. Then, you have games such as Tuesday’s 8-4 FIU win over Bethune-Cookman before 101 fans and scouts at FIU Baseball Stadium.

The moment where this game pivoted like a second baseman turning a double play was as clear as the gently cool night. In fact, the turn started with the glove of a second baseman, sophomore Edwin Rios, and Rios went 2 for 5 with four RBI at the plate to help complete the swing. In between, junior left fielder Roche Woodard, 2 for 3, helped tame Bethune-Cookman until FIU rediscovered its offense.

Bethune-Cookman led 4-1 with one out and runners on first and second in the fifth inning after a pair of walks by eventual winner, junior Mike Ellis. Josh Johnson cracked a drive headed for right field and at least one RBI when Rios sailed to spear it.

“I got a good jump on it, but it was pretty tough,” Rios said.

Bethune-Cookman left fielder Bryant Munoz followed by singling to left, but Woodard came up throwing. Earlier, Munoz had run down an Aramis Garcia drive to left center before running into the wall (and holding onto the ball). Garcia got a measure of revenge by going full single arm extension to grab Woodard’s high throw and coming down in time to tag out Jordan Robinson for the third out.

“Humongous,” FIU coach Turtle Thomas said of those two plays. “That’s probably a couple more runs right there.”

In the bottom of the fifth, a two-out walk to junior Julius Gaines, a Garcia single, a passed ball and an intentional walk to junior Josh Anderson brought up Rios. While Rios said he understood the intentional walk strategically considering how he had been hitting, he said still considered it something of an insult.

He replied with a two-run single to cut Bethune-Cookman’s lead to 4-3. Junior Brian Portelli’s grounder to shortstop Shaun McCarty should have ended the inning, but McCarty flubbed both the grounder and the throw. Two more runs scored and FIU had a 5-4 lead.

That expanded to the final score in the sixth. Another Garcia shot that Munoz caught near the warning track brought in a run. Rios doubled to the right-center gap, driving in two more runs.

The offensive explosion massaged FIU after last weekend at Alabama-Birmingham. Both teams’ pitching dominated as UAB took two 1-0 games and FIU won 2-0 on Sunday.

“We talked about it more than once,” Thomas said. “We absolutely needed to get to swinging the bat again. We worked with a lot of guys before the game tonight. We worked with six specific guys. Most of them did a nice job tonight.”

Read more FIU stories from the Miami Herald

  •  
FIU Panthers Jonnu Smith (87) tries to escape a tackle by Pittsburgh defenders during their football game at FIU Stadium in Miami on Sept. 13, 2014.

    FIU

    Problems with third-down conversions hampering FIU

    Three games into the season, the southernmost Football Bowl Subdivision team still might as well be playing offense with Canadian football’s three downs instead of American football’s four.

  •  
 <span class="cutline_leadin">Hard-nosed runner:</span> Pitt running back James Conner gained 177 yards on 31 carries against FIU.

    FIU notebook

    FIU, Pittsburgh combine for three safeties

    Football’s least common score became more common than a cold Saturday at FIU Stadium. And it happened three times between two teams for whom “safety” usually means “Johnathan Cyprien” or “Bob Jury.”

  •  
FIU Panthers Jonnu Smith (87) tries to escape a tackle by Pittsburgh defenders during their football game at FIU Stadium in Miami on Sept. 13, 2014.

    Pittsburgh 42, FIU 25

    FIU builds early lead but crumbles against Pittsburgh

    To upset Pitt Saturday, FIU needed bodacious, bombastic game-changing plays and some funky fortune in addition to crisp execution. And FIU got all of that — for one quarter.

Join the
Discussion

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