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Down Goes Another No. 1

Tun The FIU baseball turnaround tunnel is still some distance away, but the Golden Panthers saw some light this past week by taking down two No. 1 teams.

The Golden Panthers played inspired baseball to defeat the No. 1 canes and properly close out the 35-year-old crosstown series with a win last Wednesday in Coral Gables. And yesterday, FIU won the three-game series against the Sun Belt's No. 1 team, Louisiana-Monroe, by belting out a season-high 20 hits, including Ryan Mollica (right) going 5 for 6 with a grand slam.Mollica_3

There are 9 Sun Belt Conference games left and FIU is in 9th place, 1 game behind Middle Tennessee for  the last conference spot in the tournament.

With the way the season started, it would have been hard to fathom that FIU would be in contention at this point. But the Golden Panthers hitting has not stopped. There seems to be some meshing with the pitching staff, in particular, Corey Polizzano, Eric Horstmann (left), James Lajiness and Jorge Marban, and the defense has Horst_2 gotten better with their recent run of errorless games.

The Golden Panthers success of late has been a simple baseball formula that has worked since the game was invented in the late 1800's. You may have heard it in the greatest baseball movie of all-time Bull Durham (below,  right): "You throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball." FIU has been doing it all of late.Bull_2

Now there are 9 conference games left and to show you how competitive the Sun Belt is in baseball. The 5th place team, Western Kentucky, and 9th place,  FIU are separated by just 3 games. The catch is that FIU has lost the season series/tiebreaker to two of those four teams: Western Kentucky and Middle Tennessee. South Alabama, which is in 6th comes to FIU for a 3-game series starting May 9 and FIU already took the series against Louisiana-Lafayette.

While all the pieces (notably, pitching) are not in place yet for FIU to possibly make a serious run in the NCAA postseason this year, it has been encouraging of late to see the Golden Panthers make a push for the postseason.

FIU has 9 big games left starting this coming Friday at Arkansas State. If they keep throwing the ball, catching the ball and hitting the ball, then who knows, stranger things have happened.

Gppaw GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Need to make a correction from the last post after checking FIU records. The Golden Panthers baseball team's win last week against a No. 1 team was not the first time an FIU sports team has knocked off the top team in the country. FIU men's soccer team beat No. 1 UCLA in 1999. It was, however, the first time FIU baseball beat No. 1.

Mr. Forklift: Welcome to the GPP. Great first post.Mm

FIU Fanatic, Clawing Cancer & FIUJM: Thanks for the props on the Marshall McDuffie (right) story. He's good kid, who decided to make the right choices in the aftermath of the brawl. MM got his degree today and is headed to grad school while he plays his last year at safety for FIU this fall.

CJ: You are a master at understanding T.D.A.O.S. I got a friend who has expressed interest in printing those t-shirts.

FIUDad: Stop hanging out with Cheech and Chong. No FIU will not move down. The Golden Cc Panthers will be just fine in Division I.

Crazy Cane: Actually, it's a pleasure covering FIU. When I get to writing a book about FIU, it will be a much more interesting read to learn how the Golden Panthers program rose from the bottom to the top.

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FIU Dad... he's tool-tastic!

And props to FIU for the series W... though all these games where the pitching gives up 10+ runs is really starting to get old.

Good blog. You know, after all these years, I look forward to reading your book, and I will reminisce along, as we all know and lived so much of it..It will be something....One chapter, or page, has to be devoted to the opening of our state-of-the-art ON CAMPUS stadium in 2008. Dont you think?

Pete, can you confirm for us that FIUDad is another name for one of the crazy UM bandwagon-jumpers on this board? No one can truly be that ignorant without have some affiliation with the University of Classless Gables across town.

I am very excited for our guys. It's very nice to see them get these wins, especially after a tough season.

Pete, you might find this odd, but I have never seen Bull Durham. You've inspired me to watch it now. :)

Pete thanks for the Comments. i kinda like the sound of that btw CJ the master of TDAOS lol if FIU DAD was CC pete probably would have caught it a while ago. FIU dad is just a typical City of MIami fan. jumps ship every time we hit a wave. i bet if he went fishing it would be on a lake.

Why is it that just because I have an opinion about what is best for the school I love, everyone jumps down my throat about it. Do I jump all over you guys when you post your opinions on PG, MC or TT - NO! I just give my opinions on the job they have done thus far, which I am not impressed by. I have every right to express my displeasure with the current state of the program and give my opinions as to what I think would help us turn around the funk we are currently in. I am not saying you have to agree with my opinion or proposals, but to accuse me of being a UM fan, a turncoat, or whatever negative name you called me, shows your lack of class and I think that makes you more like a UM fan than I ever seem to be. All you FIU fans who have rediculed me on this blog for expressing my opinions discuss me as "FIU fans" and human beings. For the sake of FIU athletics and the reputation of the program, I hope that fans like you stay away from our new stadium because it is fans like you that are going to turn it into the same atmosphere which existed cross town at the OB.

FIUDad although i do not think anyone needs to explain their reasoning to why you taste a bit like egg's when you talk (benedict arnold for those following) let me shed the light. you express your displeasure for a team that just has a MAJOR switch in philosophy both baseball and football. within their first game you were already preaching gloom and doom. you never gave any team a chance.

and yes i agree you are intitled to your opinion. however, you should not get upset at the fact that fans take exception to your opinions when you are telling us FIU doesnt belong in D1. that is basically spitting on what these new regimes are trying to do. the belief to be the best you have to beat the best. and that takes more than 1 game. however, if you feel i have painted you wrong i urge you prove me wrong

Well said, CJ. FIUDad, don't do us any favors and go jump on and off on the bandwagons in Coral Gables.

thanks TNGP

Thanks for the shout-out, Pete.

As far as the opinion of FIU needing to go down a division grade, it is an interesting thought. The downside to doing that is that a team may miss out on some good opportunities to play stronger teams. It is a dilemma all mid-major to lower Division 1-A teams have: schedule the big boys, knowing that you will have more losses than wins or go after the easy victories? I know that UCF took the route of scheduling tough opponents as a way of improving the football program long-term. It has paid off in solid recruiting and increased interest; it has also made UCF a laughing-stock at times.

Overall, if you want to be the best, you have to play the best. It is the only way you get better, because you end up playing to the level of your opponents. The fix you suggest would have results short-term, but would create long-term potential damage.

Keep your chin up -- it is always good to explore options; don't get discouraged if others ridicule you for it...

Are you serious? On this blog we now have FIU fans calling out other FIU fans and FIU fans calling out UM fans for not responding fast enough after all the complaining about how the UM fans should not be on the blog in the first place. WOW!!!!! No wonder the FIU athletic program sucks, the can't make up their mind on the direction they want to go either. I for one do not think FIU should drop down conferences, I think it is great that they are in D-1 getting their asses kicked in every sport. Yes all of you FIU fans, just because you beat Miami and won a series against the number 1 team in the Sunbelt in basbeall, the team still sucks. Just look at the record. Also, I do not qualify a team as no longer sucking because they one 1 game last year against another crappy team like North Texas.

As any dedicated reader of this blog will tell you, yes I am a huge UM supporter, but I am reasonable. But what I have been reading lately from the FIU fans is plain rediculous. FIUDad gave an opinion, and you all jumped on him like he was the enemy - this is YOUR OWN FAN. Just comment back, but to call him names and accuse him of being CrazyCane is just rediculous and only adds to the moronic label FIU fans already carry.

Now, here is MY OPINION. FIU should, in the Fall, when they are in the new stadium, try not to lose every game. I know that for the past two seasons it has been the goal of the FIU program to lose every football game in order to try and get the first pick of the top high school recruits. Wait, what's that you say, in college there is not draft which allows the team with the worst record to pick the best recruit. Than what was the point of losing all of those games on purpose? You mean FIU was not losing those games on purpose? That was the team trying its hardest to win? Oh my God, I thought for sure that the FIU football team for the last two seasons was trying to get the top recruit in the counrty by losing on purpose. Now I have to re-think my entire opinion.

To be continued.....

24/7 now you know i have respect for u.. although always defending your team you have at times seemed to be reasonable w/ your responses. however, the calling out of our "fans" is directly related to fans giving up after 1 game. stating moving back to D-II b/c they would rather win against weaker opponents than put up a fight against better opponents. we can at least both agree that is no matter to build

What makes the D-II teams weaker than FIU at this point? Is it your assertion that FIU would dominate D-II? Based on what evidence?
CJ - you and I have had some good exchanges, but I must disagree with you on your conclusion that FIU would win games in D-II against lesser talent. I in fact do think that it would do more for the building of FIU to compete in D-II, at least in football, until its foundation is set. Right now, you have a second year head coach, zero tradition, zero following outside of FIU locals and alumni, and a fan base which is unifomred (to put it politely)
I have no doubt that one day FIU be competitive in D-I, but on its current track, those days are far, far away and I do not think the local fanbase is willing to wait that long. Just my opinioon.

and intiteled to your opinion you are, however, at risk of sounding repetative of MC's past wasnt it the same senario w/ rutgers for compatability they are very similar in the sense that most suggested the move back to D-II and how long it took the program to build.. i still remember the 66-0 or something of the sort beat down rutgers took at the hands of UM. i would say they have come in and changed dont you?

and im not saying that they would dominate at D-II.. but you can agree the most of the competition they face will be weaker than what they would face D-I

Agreed - but Rutgers was p[laying in a conference which was nationally recognized and could attract recruits based on exposure. FIU has neither going for it at this time. maybe if FIU were to move into the Big East, and gain the type of exposure playing in a "real" conference gives you, they may be able to attract better national recruits and potentially get better. However, I have not heard of any intention to jump conferences- have you?

I always forget to mention that I am an FIU graduate.

no and i give you that rutgers was in a nationally veiw confrence i cant argue that. understanding that the belt confrence is no major conf. nor is it a mid major to this point. one can argue that it could be the next confrence on the rise. teams such as troy, ASU, and even our rival FAU have played decent to well against the big boys and are getting exposure. FIU could turn it around in this conf.

and an arguement could be made that even if FIU gets just "average" recruits from FLA. that would still be better than receiving average players from diff. states. take our current recruiting class. now we have no1 over "3 stars" however we have 6 guys recruited on defense that help lead BTW to the best defense in the state of FLA. which had 2 teams finish top 10 in the nation (BTW being #4)

Bull Durham is a baseball classic!!

congrats to our boys who had an amazing week in fiu baseball and to Ryan Mollica who is SBC player of the week! Hopefully we can finish the season off right :)

I got to love fanatic assuming people don't have a life, careers, friends, things going on as opposed to being on a newspaper blog waiting for someone to respond to me. I guess that is the definition of fanatic.

To answer CJ's original question, I didn't see McDuffie swing a helmet. I saw him kick a field goal kicker in the head while he was down though. As far as Reddick, he was reinstated right away, doesn't mean he's any less deserving, just pointing out the hypocrisy that many on here choose to ignore. But of course, when in Rome.

Are you people serious ? This thread has become so pathetic....

Pete, please find us another topic to argue about ? Maybe how Shalala wants to pull the plug on football, if UCG cannot return to the glory days of fatigues and flags for excessive celebrations !!!

I wanna see UM guys running into the tunnels and shooting those six shooters again after touchdowns. It was OK when Randy was playing, now that he's the coach and pandering to Donna - the swagger will never come back....

Catholics vs Convicts (that was classic) bring it back !!!

Fomenter, what hypocrisy? There's a monster difference between the punishments Reddick got and McDuffie got. To even compare the two is moronic, if that's what you're trying to do. Reddick didn't get kicked off the team. Reddick got a suspension that, frankly, was less than he should have gotten. The same applies to most of the 'Canes on the field that day. At least McDuffie had to actually DO something - a lot of somethings, really - to get back.

MM's behavior that day was heinous, and frankly, I don't know if I would've been as generous as PG has been even after all I've read. But there's something to be said for second chances. At least MM and the other FIU players had to earn their way back. It would've been nice had Miami made their players do the same. Ain't it funny how contending for an ACC crown gets in the way of doing the right thing sometimes?

As for the D-II mess... good Lord. What is wrong with you people? Why is this even being discussed? It's not going to happen. You don't invest all the money and personnel that they've gotten in order to take on the Georgia Southerns of the world. Can anyone here even name the D-II champs in any of the major sports WITHOUT going on Google? This isn't just about sports, people. It's also about selling FIU as a brand name... which isn't going to happen playing anything but D-I. I'll take being a bad D-I program over a great D-II one 1000 times out of 1000.

Oh, and FIUDad, you are a tool. That's not an insult. That's a fact. Learn something before letting your fingers run wild on a keyboard. #1 on your to-learn list should be learning how to see the forest from the trees. Criticize all you wish over some of the things you've seen this year - I've done likewise myself - but saying FIU should drop from D-I is as retarted an idea as I've ever heard on here. If Rutgers can go from laughingstock to powerhouse, anyone can. Even FIU. And you don't need a big conference in order to do it (but it sure helps). You just need people who know what they're doing.

Great answer clawing cancer...fomenter, you don't make any sense at all. Talk about need to get a life, you needed to respond here so that we could all "hear" you? wow..


BTW, got a good laugh with 24/7 calling himself "reasonable". Now..that is hilarious!!!

Unlike FIU, I don't think UM was trying in the LAST EVER game they played at the Orange Bowl.

Fomenter thank you for clearifying the differnce in time served. however, i will have to disagree w/ you that Reddicks time was served just. the man basically committed assult just like mcduf. mcduf was kicked off the team. a year and a half and our school didnt bring up bringin it back it was brought to them by an outside source (if i read petes article right) reddick served time,it should have been longer

Clawing Cancer (aka Messod), I agree with you on your post.

BTW, FIUDad = TheU24/7! Just look at their spelling of RIDICULOUS (this dual persona spells it "rediculous", what are the chances of this). A 2nd e-mail is used for this alter ego so that they can hide behind the keyboard.

Pete, when writing this anticipated book, contact me because as you know I've been involved as a booster, former FIU employee and life-long supporter of FIU athletics. I've been involved with most of FIU's Div - I history (1986 - Present). I will tell some stories!

GO FIU!!!

Why is that awkward? I can 100% fathom the thought that 2 FIU grad's don't know how to spell.

I'm not trying to justify Reddick's actions. I think both should have been kicked off the team with no possibility of returning. Simple as that. But unfortunately, in criminal law, what Reddick did is justifiable considering McDuf. was an initial aggressor and gave rise to a situation that resulted in mayhem, so therefore Reddick has a valid defense to any possible assault charges and all actions taken by both FIU and UM players will be imputed towards McDuffie and the other instigator's original liabilities. I'm just pointing out that whether Reddick would have been suspended one game or one year, he's on the team as is McDuffie, which goes to show that people in glass houses can't throw stones. I hate pulling out my knowledge as an attorney in the matter, but since assault was mentioned, it appears appropriate.

True, McDuff has done a lot to try to rectify his standing in the community, but he also had a lot of free time on his hand. No slight to his intentions, he does appear to be a good kid, but the actions remain nonetheless.

So clawing cancer, comparing the two isn't moronic, from a legal standpoint. It is what it is. Both took heinous actions in a brawl, but McDuffie is one of the initial aggressors, created the mayhem and insane circumstances and in the long run is one of the main reasons it all began.

if we go legal i can only go as far as bus. law class has taken me so i cant talk much. however, i do agree that both should have made an example of and not allowed on the team.. will i condem them for giving both another chance? no not at all. however, i would have liked for reddick's sentence to be a bit longer

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