FIU ace Cody Crouse baffled Manhattan over seven one-hit innings, Brian Portelli drove in three and the Panthers topped the Jaspers 7-2 in the first game of an eight-game homestand.
The sophomore Crouse induced 13 flyball outs and struck out five on his way to his second win of the season. The righty didn’t allow a hit until Jason Patnick’s double with one out in the seventh inning. But Patnick’s screamer down the third-base line drove in two, simultaneously spoiling Crouse’s potential no-hitter and shutout.
Portelli drove in a run in each of his first three at-bats, highlighted by his conference-leading ninth double in the fifth to score Julius Gaines. Gaines (two walks, RBI) also scored in the third on the second of Portelli’s two RBI fielder’s choices.
Twice the Panthers manufactured a run without a hit. Freshman center fielder Jack Schaaf (2 for 4, RBI) walked to lead off the first inning, then stole second, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a Portelli grounder. First baseman Mitchell Robinson walked and scored in the sixth after a Manhattan error and wild pitch.
David Lee struck out four over two scoreless innings for his first save.
The Panthers are looking for their second series win of the season after splitting a four-game tournament hosted by Coastal Carolina. They started the year by taking two of three from visiting Tennessee. FIU and Manhattan play a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m. Saturday.