FIU baseball team ends season on sour note after missing NCAA tournament cut

05/27/2014 12:01 AM

05/27/2014 6:40 PM

There wasn’t much suspense for the FIU baseball team on Monday.

After going two-and-out at the Conference USA tournament last week and losing eight of their final 10, the Golden Panthers knew their season was over.

The announcement of NCAA regional teams on Memorial Day only made it official.

FIU, which opened with 10 consecutive wins and were 16-1 at one point, will not participate in the postseason for the third year in a row.

The Golden Panthers end the year 36-20 after losing to Rice and Old Dominion at the C-USA tournament last week in Mississippi. FIU made the tournament in each of coach Turtle Thomas’ first two years at the school.

“We were 34-12 coming off a sweep at East Carolina,” Thomas said while on a scouting trip to Colorado.

“All we had to do was take care of business. But we didn’t do it and went 2-8. It’s one of those mysteries of life. I have no idea why we finished the way we did.

“We just kind of went down the tubes. We were absolutely in line [for a bid] not long ago. We would have been in good shape had we done well at the end.’’

The Golden Panthers ended up being the eighth and final seeded team in the C-USA tournament after losing two of three to end the regular season at Tulane.

Going into the tournament, FIU had an RPI ranking of 71st in the country with a strength-of-schedule at 137. Last year, only Rice advanced from the conference to tournament play.

This year, Old Dominion joins the Owls in the tournament.

“The bottom line is non-conference means a lot,” Thomas said, “but you have to do well in your conference in the 10 weekends you play. We did OK, not good enough.”

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