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Early Summer Vacation

We found out early last Friday morning that FIU baseball would start its summer vacation earlier than expected.

After FIU lost to Florida Atlantic on Thursday night and Middle Tennessee beat Western Kentucky in the wee hours Friday morning after a 3 hour and 20 minute rain delay, the Golden Panthers baseball season was over and yours truly also got an early start on summer vacation by canceling a trip to Lafayette, La. for the Sun Belt tournament. Maybe, I should have asked the FIU witches for some magic potion like FI- UM FAN suggested.

Lamp_3 So we're stuck here in Florida and as you know, "they never close Florida".

But the FIU sports season has come to close and here's what we learned from the Golden Panthers baseball team after a 20-36 season, 9th place Sun Belt finish.

* FIU needs plenty of pitching. Late in the season, Eric Horstmann, James Lajiness and Jorge Marban emerged as some of the more consistent arms, but EH and JL have graduated. The only returning starting pitcher is Corey Polizzano and after CP and Chris Allen (also graduated) the starting pitching this season was erratic. Asked TT about recruiting pitching and he estimates he'll need about 10 quality pitchers to get this going in the right direction. One pitcher that would be interesting to see how he progresses next season is Daniel DeSimone. Coming off Tommy John surgery, last year, may have limited DD from going all out this season. When DD did pitch it sure looked like he has good stuff. Maybe after a year of college ball he can put it together next season.

* Of the returning starters, FIU has a good core to build on in 2B Ryan Mollica, 1B Tyler Townsend (right), C Steven Stropp and OF Javier Sujo, but of course that's just 4 players. Mollica finished second in the Sun Belt in hitting this season with a .413 average. Townsend hit 14 home runs. Stropp probablyTown_3  improved the most throughout the season both at the plate and behind it. SS was one of several FIU batters that heeded TT's advice to go to the opposite field and with it increased his average to finish at .289. Sujo, a freshman, was among the team's hitting leaders for most of the season. What the FIU lineup needs to improve on is hitting good pitching. Yes, the Golden Panthers hit .305 as a team this season, but when they ran into a solid starting pitcher, FIU struggled and good teams find a way to get to another team's ace.

* The defense got better as the season went along. FIU had a stretch of consecutive errorless games that helped keep them in the conference race. But 93 errors in 2008, despite the improvement from 104 errors in 2007, is still way too much, especially in college baseball where they use the aluminum and unless you have dominant starting pitching every game can be like you're playing in the thin air at Coors Field.

FIU currently has the No. 15 recruiting class in the nation for 2009, but it needs to get most of those players into University Park Stadium next spring. We'll have TT stop by the GPP soon to talk about the 2008 season and the year ahead for FIU baseball. TT is headed to the high school state baseball championship this week and then to the JUCO (Junior College) World Series in Colorado thereafter.

Until then, would like to hear your thoughts on the 2008 season. 

Gppaw GOLDEN PANTHER PAWSE

Not because it's an election year, but we're introducing a new feature to the blog below -- the GPP Poll. We'll randomly post FIU questions to specific blogs to gauge the feel of the GPP nation. 

MaXx: Not having the fieldhouse done in time for the season will not impact the west end zone seating as FIUBlueandGold posted. The west end zone seats will all be complete along with the ramps on the southwest and northwest corners of the stadium. The steel pillars for the west end zone are already in the ground. They are currently putting up the west side of the stadium. When there is something to walk on, on the west side, we'll have another tour of the stadium here on the GPP complete with updates from around the rest of the stadium.

hankgoldberg: Good point on your post. Agreed, I think some folks on this blog are putting the cart Carr_2 before the horse with talk of a "must" spot in a regional next season. After watching almost every game this season, the thought here is that FIU needs a serious overhaul with its pitching to even think of winning the Sun Belt next season. There was a huge lack of depth in the pitching staff this season due to ineffectiveness and injuries. That being said, the Golden Panthers do need to show improvement next season and every other season thereafter, but "get to a regional or else"?? If anyone saw more than 25 FIU games in person this season (and that meaning you stayed for more than 7 innings each game) then you know the lack of pitching I'm talking about. Sometimes, I just don't understand fans that analyze a team from the comfort of their laptop and don't actually watch the games.

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So here it goes !
FAU has played FIU in baseball 15 times.
FAU (owls) has won 12 out of these 15 games.
This goes for the kid that told me I was not in Boca, so I would have to keep my mouth shut. The same kid that told that winning the sunbelt in football and the New Orleans Bowl meant nothing.
I just want to know if winning for your school a conference and a bowl would mean something to you !
By the way !
FAU has played FIU in football 6 times and has won 5 times.
sunbelt champs 2007 in:
Soccer/Softball/Football
I am the one that can talk whatever I want because I am on the winning side.
I hope to see you at dolphins stadium on November when you and your 176 fans show up and start talking down on us.

I definitely agree that we need pitching. I think that pitching is probably the biggest thing that hurt us this season.

I didn't expect us to have a huge season, but I think that we could've done better than we did. I think that we all know that things can't change overnight.

Also, let's look at the bright side of this season, congrats to Jorge Castillo for his big hitting streak. (Was it 35 or more? Pete, please correct me if I am wrong.)And of course, beating UM was HUGE for us. It was definitely one of my highlights of the season.

Miri,

Castillo's streak was 30 games, while Mollica had a streak of 27 games this season.

Definetly not what was expected by alot of the FIU faithful at the beginning of the year, but like we had to give MC some time to build stuff, same has to be said for TT.

Alex,

I don't think anybody here can seriously talk bad about FAU. Right about now, they are a great promotion to our conference and our youth and athletics.

Hopefully the SunBelt can continue producing great sports team so that we can gain even more fans.

Here's to both FIU and FAU having great football seasons!

Thanks Roman. I guess I was confusing Jorge's streak with Luis Castillo when he was a Marlin (kinda easy to confuse them with the last name, I guess).

Congrats go to Ryan as well! He did great this season.

About 5 or 6 years ago, FAU couldn't beat FIU in ANY sports even we forfeited a game, however times have changed. FAU's athletic department has not only improved (congrats to FAU and its fans) but they have over taken FIU in its development.

I hope we have the pieces in place to kick start the overall athletic dept. @ FIU and improve our status and that of our conference.

GO FIU!!!

Fellow FIU fans, we'll have our time to shine. Just take it one step at a time. ;)

FIU fans lets keep the heads up high.. everyone knows we wanted more out of our teams but everyone also knows we got what everyone realisticly expected. keep your heads up high. we have the right pieces in place at the top and in the middle. now all we need is time to get the right pieces at the bottom. once we get those kids you will see improvement. and alex congrats to FAU, but watch out FIU will come strong next yr.

UltimateFIUFan: What are you talking about ? 5 or 6 years ago?
You are talking about 2002, 2003. By this time, we had already faced you in football and won all 3 games. FAU's baseball has been top 25 in the nation. We lead the series in basketball and baseball too. This is what I don't understand about FIU fans. They talk and write offensive staff on their boards during football games and it seems they don't get their facts right. They just go making up staff without proving it. I do not have anything against FIU. What bothers me is their lying and their impudence when it comes about real facts
FF II UU FIU : Yes they do write bad staff about FAU. Go to the games and pay attention to your 63 fans that show up for the game. I admire those 57 fans because I would have given up already after seeing year by year the same 8,000 FAU fans against 134 FIU fans.

PETE

In your opinion what has FAU done in about the same time frame to be ahead as an Ath. Dept. as a whole? Are they not a smaller school? Is there anythign to pin point?

AlexFA(WHO?)06,

Did you lose the "u" on your keyboard that you keep putting an "a" on stUff?

"FF II UU FIU : Yes they do write bad staff about FAU. Go to the games and pay attention to your 63 fans that show up for the game. I admire those 57 fans because I would have given up already after seeing year by year the same 8,000 FAU fans against 134 FIU fans."

HUH?!?! Do we have 63, 57, or 134 fans that show up? Inquiring minds want to know!

TNFinFan is TNGoldenPather, just in case. Didn't want you to think I was hiding behind another name.

I'm sorry, but this FAU fan is grossly inaccurate in his all time series records. Look it up before typing all sort of incorrect information...

In men's basketball...FIU leads the all time series against FAU 13-9 after the owls' win in the playoff game. Look it up here, buddy...

http://www.nmnathletics.com/fls/11700/pdf/mbk_game_notes/game_notes.pdf?SPID=4764&DB_OEM_ID=11700&SPSID=49079

We currently have two alumns playing in the NBA: Carlos Arroyo, and Raja Bell. How many does FAU has...or has had?

Now, for baseball: FIU has, not only being Top 25 a couple of times, but Top 10....6 consecutive years, and 7 out of 8 years, going to the Reginals, including going to a Super Regional against Mark Pryor and USC, after winning the South Bend Regional in 2001 or 2002. Mike Lowell is an All Star and high caliber Major League player. Does FAU has any All Star MLB player? As far as the overall record against FAU....again...learn, read, and be humble: FIU leads the series as well 36-34 after FIU won one game and lost two to FAU.

http://www.fiusports.com/pdf3/107012.pdf?ATCLID=1378501&SPID=4760&DB_OEM_ID=11700&SPSID=49062

Now, let's go to women's basketball: FIU has had several years ranked in the top 25, and at least a couple of times ranked in the top 10. FIU has had several former players dot Pro leagues around the world, with at least 3-5 former FIU players having played at the WNBA. Overall record against FAU prior to this season: FIU 21 FAU 2...Ouch!!

http://www.fiusports.com/ViewArticle.dbml?SPSID=56146&SPID=4765&DB_OEM_ID=11700&ATCLID=1394633

FIU played its first season in football in 2002, so I doubt that by 2003, let alone in 2002, as you put it..."we had already faced you in football and won all 3 games". Again, impossible to have played 3 times by 2003..or by 2002...That's another ridiculous statement.

Alex, it's kind of fun you coming here trying to raise some type of something. However, if you bring up using facts to back up your words...I'm sorry, but your credibility is tarnished then....

For someone who claims to post "facts", AlexFAU06 seems to be selective in his so-called facts. And most of it, not facts at all!

P.S. The women's hoops record, it should have said "after" this season...21-2.

I think many of us expected the baseball team to finish over .500 and be in the middle of the pack for the division. Just like many of you have mentioned, the pitching and defense just killed us.

Pete, have you been able to get any info on one of our Killan recruits, Mason McVay? I heard he had some sort of shoulder surgery and he missed his senior year. Will he be healthy to practice in the fall?

Let's fix this mess I created.
Ridgepanther: what do you mean by smaller school ?
FAU was established in 1961/ FIU 1965
FAU has 5 campuses/ Main Campus in Boca Raton 850 acres
FIU has 2 or 3 campuses/ Main Campus in Miami 500 acres
FAU has 26,000 students / FIU has 38,000 students.
Please explain why the low attendance during football games at FIU

UltimateFIUFan: FAU Football won in 02,03,04,06,07, so 5 or 6 years ago was between 02 and 03. This means we had won some games right ?

TNTinFan: I do not know the exact number of FIU fans showing up for the games, but it is reaaalllyyy low compared to FAU especially when you have 10,000 more students than FAU. Can you explain that ?

TNGoldenpanther: All your facts are very accurate. I congratulate FIU for its success in baseball, M and W basketball by leading the series

Please, do not go saying FA who ? because your school is not more recognized than ours. Both schools ranked as 4th tier schools. This year UM was not chosen to host the presidential debates. They were held at FAU. I've met plenty of students coming from FIU to FAU complaining about the programs. I guess that goes the other way around too. I am not here to judge FIU, but you guys say really bad things about FAU.
Remember you are a 4th tier school, but you think you are an Ivy league School.
I hope to see everybody at the games, maybe if we all do this; the Sunbelt becomes more important

FIU Baseball did about the same as football. It just goes to show that you cannot expect a Head Coach to build a winning team overnite. He has to have time to build and recruit His own players for His system. TT and MC losing with other coaches players means nothing. We can judge them in years 3 and 4 when the fr they recruit will be Jr.s and SR.s

By the way whats up with all this new password and sign in stuff just to comment?

FI-UM Fan,

The new password and sign-in stuff for commenting was implemented by the Miami Herald on every Herald blog, because there have been 3 MH blogs that have gotten out of hand with vulgar comments and photos (the GPP is NOT one of them).

I know it can be a pain to comment now and I have let the big wigs at the MH know about it. Especially, since I keep tabs on the GPP comments.

It's just that other writers on other blogs don't monitor their comments and that's why the MH has installed this password system for making comments on blogs.

On behalf of the MH, sorry for the inconvenience. It stinks.

AlexFAU, you read my post all wrong! I was complimenting your programs improvement over the last 5 or 6 years. Read it again. Of course I know about your victories over us in football, I've been to every game we've played against FAU.

My point was exactly the fact that we regularly TROUNCED FAU for a long time in all sports before we both got football. Then FAU got football one year before FIU and not only improved in football, but you guys have improved in nearly all your teams.

You need to re-read the post. BTW talking about FIU fans being bad is like an alcoholic telling someone that they are drinking too much! Believe me; BOTH universities need MAJOR improvement in that area!

GO FIU!!!

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