I have to get in a Catherine Zeta-Jones photo here, because what follows is some ugly baseball.
Wednesday night, the Golden Panthers bullpen had pitched a marvelous game heading into the ninth inning. After a shaky third inning, Brian Santana, Evan Ellison and Walker Whitley were flawless allowing zero runs in seven of the eight innings the trio pitched. They struck out 11 um batters.
Then came the self-inflicted wound that became the ninth inning. Ahead, 7-6, coach Danny Price brings in Jorge Ramos, who had NOT pitched since March 16 because of elbow tendonitis. I'm no math whiz but by my count that's 26 days since the freshman had thrown a baseball that counted.
On top of that, Ramos had to get out the top of the um order which was pulverizing the baseball Wednesday. 3 of the first 4 hitters in the um lineup combined to go 7 for 14 Wednesday.
Just to remind, Ramos had not pitched in 26 days so you CANNOT pin the ninth inning on the kid.
Anyways, leadoff hitter Blake Tekotte doubles and gets moved to third base on a ground out. Now comes, arguably the best hitter in college baseball this season -- Yonder Alonso, a left-handed hitter going against the right-hander Ramos.
The move everyone in University Park and those listening on the radio would have made was to walk Alonso and set up a double play. Nope, on the first pitch Alonso rips a single to right...tie game. Then comes clean-up hitter Mark Sobolewski who smacks a double to right and then the FIU wheels came off with an error and a um two-run double. Five runs later the Golden Panthers suffer another defeat.
Now, I'm no Connie Mack (winningest major league manager: 3,731 wins), but I have to wonder: bringing in a pitcher, who is coming off an injury into the 9th inning of a one-run lead against the top of the batting order?
''He's bigger than me and he wanted the ball,'' Price said. "That's the truth he really wanted the baseball and I wanted somebody who really wanted the ball to be out there. . . . and if I had to do it again, I'd do it again.''
Ok, then. Good luck to the Golden Panthers against Sun Belt No. 2 Louisiana-Monroe this weekend.
I know many of you have written in already calling for change to the FIU baseball program. After games, like these, I could see your point. When and what the changes will be are unknown.
But one thing is for certain. FIU AD Pete Garcia won't have to come up with $40,000 like um did when they went looking for a football coach, when the coach they hired was already on campus. Who's running the financial show over there and could they give me $40,000?
Back to the matter at hand.
Pete Garcia will have to make a trip to the Home Depot for some door reinforcements, because baseball coaches from around the nation are going to be beating down his door for the opportunity to coach a Division I college baseball program in talent-rich Miami.
Folks, the FIU baseball program, like many of FIU's sports is "a sleeping giant" and someone needs to give it a wake-up call.