The 2019 Major League Baseball draft is 10 months away, but FIU third baseman Austin Shenton has already stamped himself as a prospect.
Shenton, a junior from Bellingham, Washington, hit .375 this past summer, finishing second in batting average in the Cape Cod League.
“The Cape”, as it is known for short, is the No. 1 summer league for college players, and Shenton also had an impressive .486 on-base percentage and a .969 OPS.
Baseball America named Shenton as one of the “top five hitters on the rise” in the league. He was joined on Baseball America’s list by players from Stanford, Oregon, Southern Cal and Campbell.
“This summer was huge for Austin and his confidence,” FIU coach Mervyl Melendez said of Shenton, who finished second on the Panthers this past season in batting average (.344), hitting nine homers and posting a .941 OPS.
“I’m not shocked [about his summer]. He’s a great hitter. But it’s still impressive because the Cape will test you physically and mentally. There are a lot of talented players in that league.”
Shenton was one of three FIU players who competed at the Cape this past summer. Junior right-hander Nick McDonald and sophomore right-hander Christian Santana also competed.
Santana, though, had to cut his summer competition short due to shoulder discomfort. He should be ready for the fall, Melendez said.
The Valley League, which is just a step below the Cape, was home to three FIU players this summer: outfielder Adan Fernandez, infielder Kobe Lopez and right-hander Everett Hurst.
Fernandez and Lopez helped their team, the New Market Rebels, earn the league title, winning their final 13 games in a row. In the title game, Fernandez hit a go-ahead grand slam with two outs in the seventh inning.
In 45 games as a freshman last season, including 38 starts, Fernandez hit .262 with 10 homers, 26 RBI and an .858 OPS.
THIS AND THAT
▪ FIU opened its 2018 men’s soccer season in North Carolina, losing to 10th-ranked Duke 3-1 and also falling to unranked Elon 3-0.
The Panthers will host Stetson on Friday for their home opener.
FIU, ranked 20th in the nation, was eliminated by Duke last year in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. This time, FIU tied the score 1-1 on the first career goal of senior defender Nick O’Callaghan, who got a header on net after an assist by star midfielder Joris Ahlinvi.
But FIU’s Jordi Avila was issued a red card in the 73rd minute of a 1-1 game, and Duke took advantage, scoring twice in the final 14 minutes.
FIU goalie Hugo Fauroux had three saves on point-blank shots during a five-minute span and allowed only one goal on three Duke penalty kicks.
The loss ended FIU’s 21-game, regular-season unbeaten string that dated to 2016.
▪ Host FIU opened its 2018 volleyball season this past weekend with a 2-1 record. FIU beat Florida A&M and Tennessee State 3-1 each and led Stetson 2-0 before losing three straight sets.
FIU was led by senior Margherita Bianchin, a 6-foot senior outside hitter from Italy. She had a triple double against Stetson with 15 kills, 12 digs and 10 assists. She also had 46 kills on the weekend.
The Panthers appear to have found their new setter, Abbie Hughes, a 5-9 freshman from Ohio who had 99 assists over the weekend and fell one dig short of what would’ve been her third straight double-double.
Lina Bernier, a 5-11 junior from Puerto Rico, led FIU with 57 digs this weekend.
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