Florida International U

FIU Panthers’ bats stay hot in another rout of Seton Hall Pirates

FIU Panthers first baseman JC Escarra, pictured here in 2014, went 2 for 4 with two RBI.
FIU Panthers first baseman JC Escarra, pictured here in 2014, went 2 for 4 with two RBI. Miami Herald Staff

FIU pounded out another blowout of Seton Hall on Sunday afternoon at FIU Baseball Stadium, this one by a 10-1 score. But Panthers junior first baseman JC Escarra cautioned these were no punk Pirate pitchers that FIU lit up for 23 runs in the first three games of the four-game series.

“We’re just hot right now. Whatever’s coming our way, we’re going to hit it,” Escarra said. “These three pitchers that pitched this weekend are great pitchers. I played with the Saturday night guy [Zach Schellenger] in the Cape Cod League. The best pitchers in the country go there to pitch. They’re great pitchers. We’re just getting good swings on good pitches and having success.”

Escarra went 2 for 4 with two RBI off his double, bringing his series totals to 4 for 12 with four RBI. Leadoff-hitting junior shortstop Irving Lopez went 5 for 14 with two RBI over the weekend. FIU (4-4) blew out to a 5-0 lead on Seton Hall (2-5) after two innings, then a four-run fourth inning got both benches emptied, as coaches gave reserves playing time — not out of fury.

“It’s going to be the way we play,” sophomore center fielder Jack Schaaf said after going 3 for 4 on Sunday. “We’re a very good offensive team. We have guys who came off the bench today who could be doing the same thing that we’re doing right now. We’ve got great depth to the lineup. We’ve got guys hitting seventh, eighth who could be hitting in the three hole and driving in runs.”

That sounds like Schaaf is referring to ninth-hitting junior left fielder Kolby Follis, owner of the .529 average that leads the Panthers. And Schaaf also could be talking about senior third baseman Austin Rodriguez, who is hitting .458 for the season with five RBI after getting three on Sunday.

With that 5-0 cushion after two innings Sunday, allowing a baserunner or two in each inning didn’t rattle FIU starter Garrett Cave’s nerves. Cave, a sophomore right-hander, faced 23 batters in 4 1/3 innings, striking out seven, walking five, and allowing four hits and one earned run.

“I felt my fastball, the consistency wasn’t quite there. I battled and battled and tried to make pitches when we needed them,” Cave said. “They put me in a postion where I could go out and do my thing and not worry about them scoring one or two runs.”

The series ends Tuesday night with a 6:30 first pitch at FIU.

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