FIU had been struggling to score runs, having lost four of its previous five games. But visiting Illinois State and its 6.89 team ERA provided the right recipe to get the Panthers’ bats going.
FIU sent 14 men to the plate in an eight-run fifth inning and banged out 18 hits in an 11-6 victory Wednesday. The Panthers, who had season highs in runs and hits, improved to 6-9 while the Redbirds dropped to 4-8.
With the Redbirds leading 5-3 in the bottom of the fifth inning, ISU right-hander Jeffrey Barton (0-1) retired the first two Panthers. But it would take the Redbirds three pitchers and 12 more batters to record the third out of the fifth inning.
Every Panther in the starting lineup had one hit during the fifth inning. FIU was ahead 11-5 when the fifth inning finally ended.
Nick Mira led FIU, going 4 for 4 with two RBI and even stole home when Kolby Follis broke from first to second on a steal attempt.
FIU left-hander Alex Demchak (2-0) relieved starter Michael Agis and tossed 3 2/3 shutout innings to earn the win.