New FIU pitching coach Willie Collazo has already met some of his new FIU pitchers but won’t get in front of the entire staff until the Panthers baseball team starts individual fall drills.
“I want to see what the vibe is,” Collazo said. “I’m excited to see what they bring.”
Collazo, who dabbled into analytics in his previous job as a minor-league pitching coach for the Toronto Blue Jays, doesn’t believe in forcing his style onto his pitchers.
“Every pitcher is unique,” Collazo said. “I experienced that in pro ball, where they give you 20 [pitchers] and say, ‘Get them ready.’
“I will work with each pitcher. We want to build something special here.”
Logan Allen (4-6, 3.11 ERA) is expected to be FIU’s ace again this season. Tyler Myrick (2-2, 3.86 ERA in 2018), who missed last season after elbow surgery, figures to return to contend for a spot in the weekend rotation.
Christian Santana (2-3, 5.70 ERA) is another contender based on his experience, although fall battles could change everything.
THIS AND THAT
▪ FIU’s men’s basketball team announced its non-conference schedule for the upcoming season, and it features two games against teams that made the 2019 NCAA Tournament: Minnesota and Mississippi State. FIU will also play the ACC’s North Carolina State, which made the NIT field.
FIU opens its season Nov. 5 at Mississippi State. The Panthers will visit N.C. State on Nov. 13. FIU will visit Minnesota on Dec. 28. Those three games represent opportunities for eye-opening FIU upsets.
▪ Baseball America named center fielder Heliot Ramos, a former FIU recruit, the San Francisco Giants’ mid-season minor-league Player of the Year, noting that he “looked like a dynamic, five-tool player again after a down 2018.”
Ramos, a first-round pick in 2017, overcame a knee injury this past April and was recently promoted to Double-A Richmond. He turns 20 Sept. 7, and he hit .306 with 13 homers in 77 games this year at High-A San Jose.
▪ Three of the first-time collegiate starters who lined up for FIU’s football team against Tulane on Thursday were tight end Kamareon Williams, outside linebacker Daniel Jackson and defensive tackle Jordan Woods.
Williams, a 6-3, 240-pound true freshman from Delray Beach Atlantic, didn’t catch a pass on Thursday. But FIU coach Butch Davis is high on him, primarily as a blocker at this point.
Jackson, a 6-2, 200-pound junior from North Carolina, is a hybrid linebacker/safety. He had played in all 26 games for FIU the past two years before finally making his first start on Thursday and recording four tackles.
Woods, a transfer from Georgia Tech, beat out fellow junior Andrew Tarver and Damon Moore, a graduate transfer from San Diego State.
▪ Rayquel Berry, a sophomore from Coral Reef, scored two goals on Thursday as FIU’s women’s soccer team defeated Jacksonville University 3-0. It was the first win of the season for FIU (1-2). That’s big news given that FIU’s women finished 0-17-1 last season. Berry, The Herald’s Female Athlete of the Year while at Coral Reef, now has six career collegiate goals.
▪ FIU’s volleyball team, which went 19-12 last season for its most wins since 2011, is off to a poor start for 2019. FIU, now 0-2, lost to Indiana and Santa Clara on Friday as part of the former’s invitational tournament.