We've rounded first and are headed to second as we continue your questions and TT's answers. As has become customary since the subject of FIU baseball was brought up on the GPP awhile back, here is your official countdown to Opening Day against USC: 39 days.
When I first started speaking to TT about this Q & A, he said "Heck, I'll do these every month if you want me to." Whoa, first let's get to part two and then we'll take it from there.
Baseball Fan: How can you win with a team that does not have a single player that will steal 10 bases or hit 10 home runs?
TT: The thing that determines whether you win a game or not more than anything else is dominant pitching. The second most important thing is hitting throughout the lineup. We probably don't have that big power guy. Tyler Townsend has got a chance to do that. I think [Anthony] Boza can hit some home runs. I think Javi Sujo can hit some home runs. I think Jorge Castillo can hit some home runs. If you can get nine hitters throughout the lineup that can produce some pretty good offensive statistics that's better than having one or two great ones. Just trying to hit throughout the lineup. The team speed is a hair below average.
FIUJM: Who do you think are going to be the leaders on this year's baseball team?
TT: Guys like Corey Lozano is a great young man. He got a 4.0 GPA in the fall. He does exactly what you want him to do all the time, never causes any problems whatsoever. He should be a leader. I think even though Junior Arrojo is a young guy. He certainly is somewhat of a leader. Tyler Townsend is quiet, but one of those quiet type of leaders. I think John Petika is definitely a vocal leader. Kevin Mirabal behind the plate is also kind of that quiet unsung leader. I think Steven Stewart leads. I think Evan Ellison is somewhat of a leader. Those guys are the leaders of the ballclub.
TT: No. I'm glad to have a job at FIU.
Yandro: With the modification in the schedule by the NCAA, how will you handle the catching situation? Will you have two "regular" catchers sharing the load or will you go with one primary catcher who will handle the majority of the games?
TT: No doubt about it. We definitely are going to use two catchers and even a third guy might get some work along the way as well. The spot is definitely open for two guys to catch a lot. There's two times during the season that we have six games a week so one guy would die on the vine and be very tired by the time in April if we were just catching one guy.
fiufan751: Is this a station to station team or do you have guys that can run?
TT: We plan on stealing some bases. We plan on doing some hitting and running, plan on doing some delayed steals. We do not want to be a base to base team. A base to base team is fine if you can hit a ton of home runs, but we feel like we have some doubles and home run power, but not an unbelievably tremendous amount of that. We feel like we have to attack the opposing team in anyway that we can from the bunting game to the running game to getting some RBIs, doubles, a few home runs.
GPP: What's going on as far as turning the academic issues of the baseball team around? You inherited a team that lost nearly two scholarships due to poor grades. Are your guys doing any better?
TT: Our guys set an all-time FIU baseball GPA in the history of the program. It was a 3.03 GPA for the fall 2007 semester. It was the best among the FIU men's sports teams. There were six FIU female teams better than us.
UltimateFIUFan: The good people of the FIU media relations department are working on the website to make a section for FIU game archives. They should have it out soon.
Baseball Fan: This season there will be 25 or more FIU baseball game webcasts on Panther Pass.
paradox: We'll get to your pitching questions soon.
FIUPantherFan: Next time I speak with SR, I'll have his take on the difficulty of breaking the press. My two cents on it is that they don't have a true point guard on the team that can do it. Well, actually they do have a true point guard on the team, but he's in civilian clothing and not eligible until next season. That would be FSU transfer Josue Soto.
J: Welcome to the GPP. Knew Julio Moraga was enrolled at FIU last season, but did not want to come out for football. Guess he had a change of heart, which is great because FIU could use all the kicking help it can get. For those not familiar with Moraga, he was the Miami Herald's All-Dade kicker out of Homestead High in 2006.