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Baseball Adds A Game; Tennis SBC Champs

FIU baseball added a game to its schedule -- tommorrow (Tuesday) home vs. Florida Memorial at 6 p.m. -- to make up for the 2nd of 3 rain outs this season. Unless the Panthers, add 1 more game, FIU will play 55 games as opposed to the scheduled 56 games.

Not a good weekend for the Panthers dropping 2 of 3 to New Orleans. In Sun Belt baseball, every teamMm hits the snot out of the ball, the difference always comes down to who has a little bit more pitching.

Of course, if Mike Martinez's line drive in the 8th inning has 1 foot more of height, we're talking about FIU winning 2 of 3 vs. UNO. Martinez's double hit off the top of the left field wall. If it would have gone over the wall, it's a 2-run walk-off HR and it would not have been a surprise with the way Martinez (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) is tearing the cover off the ball this season. The freshman 1st base/DH is one of the smartest hitters on team with the way he uses the whole field.

But the liner didn't go over the wall and you know the old saying: If ifs and buts were candies and nuts, we'd all have a party.

Cn Right now, FIU does not have enough pitching to get by when the Panthers are not playing their best. There really isn't anyone out of the bullpen stepping up and saying give me the damn ball and let me take care of business. Might take another signing class or two for TT to assemble a solid pitching staff. For the record, TT has had only 1 full recruiting class and he was missing nearly 2 scholies because of the NCAA stuff he inherited.

Despite the sloppy series against UNO, FIU moved up to 4th in the SBC, because Louisiana-Monroe (FIU travels to ULM this weekend for 3 games) was swept 3 games by Middle Tennessee.

The current SBC standings are: Western Kentucky 14-4; Middle Tennessee 16-5; Troy 11-5, FIU 10-8 ULM 11-10. With 12 SBC games left for the Panthers, there is still plenty of time to win the regular season title, especially considering FIU has tiebreaker advantages over WK and Troy. FIU lost the series to MT.

SUN BELT CHAMPS 4 OF THE LAST 5 YEARS

Congratulations to the FIU women's tennis team and rookie coach Melissa Applebaum on another SunTenn Belt Championship. FIU won its 4th SBC title in the last 5 years with a win over Denver in the tournament final. The Panthers now move on to the NCAA Tournament where a regional appearance awaits them in either Coral Gables or Gainesville.

FIU's Marianna Muci was named the Sun Belt Tournament MVP. You can see and hear the trophy presentation and an interview with Muci here: Don't drop that trophy Rick ,  Muci Bueno .

The FIU part of the trophy presentation is about 1:00 minute into the video after Denver receives the runner-up hardware from former FIU AD Rick Mello.

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

Apaw
Missed updating the GPP Worldwide Readership Scorecard on the last post. With the addition of Isiah to FIU, we also added 2 more countries with readers from Gillenfeld, Germany and Nigeria saying hire Isiah and voting that it was a great hire for FIU. Our friends down in Guatemala City, Guatemala say FIU baseball will need 35 to 36 wins to get into the NCAA Tournament. Might need more than that with the recent losses. Anyways, here's the latest updated scorecard:

Globe GPP WORLDWIDE READERSHIP SCORECARD:

The GPP is now read in: 44 STATES: ALA, ARI, ARK, CA, COL, CT, DEL, FLA, GA, HI, IDAHO, IL, IND, IOWA, KAN, KY, LA, MASS, MD, MICH, MIN, MISS, MISSOURI, MON, NEB, NEV, NJ, NM, NY, NC, OH, OK, ORE, PA, RI, SC, TEN, TEX, UTAH, VA, VER, WASH, WEST VA., WISC.

34 COUNTRIES: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Mexico, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Panama, Peru, Scotland, Serbia, Spain, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, U.S.A., Venezuela, Vietnam.

1 DISTRICT: Washington, D.C. and 1 TERRITORY: Puerto Rico.

YOUR Q&A

Max: Pete, you seem on board with what TT and Mario are doing, how do you feel about Isiah as a It coach?

PP: Isiah Thomas (right) is exactly the jolt that FIU hoops needed. Let's face it, hoops is an afterthought in South Florida and FIU hoops has been down for about 10 years now. Getting a name coach, that has plenty of solid hoops connections and that will be able to recruit, has brought a strong buzz to FIU hoops. Supposedly, about 350 prospective players have already called FIU about playing for IT and PG said FIU received about 1,000 calls for season tickets. And don't be surprised if FIU hoops starts getting more air time like the Pistons Joe Dumars said in the Sunday IT story .

FIUPantherFan: Pete, the whole talent evaluation line, sounds like you are getting us ready for the departure of Soto and Asprilla.

PP: I was not referring to Freddy Asprilla and Josue Soto on the last post. I know that IT wants FA and JS back on the team. You are 100 % correct when you wrote on the last post: "If Coach Thomas can't keep them, it's not because he doesn't think they're talented, it's because they wanted to walk away." What I wrote on the previous post is about players on the bubble. Some of DS and DP players were not good enough for MC and TT and the same will happen with some of SR's players for IT.

Mmcd Outofthecage88: Does anyone know if we have any players that might get drafted in the NFL next week?

PP: FIU's best chance for an NFL draftee this year is Marshall McDuffie (left 22, thanks Sam Lewis photo). Spoke with MM recently and will have his draft thoughts on here later this week. He is projected anywhere from the 6th round to free agent signing.

NYCFIUFan: I heard a rumor that our President continuously mispronounced Isiah Thomas as "Isiah Thompson" is that true?

PP: That was FIU Provost Ronald Berkman, who twice mispronounced "Isiah Thompson".

FIU President Modesto "Mitch" Thompson played basketball growing up and is a huge basketball fan and never would have had that happen.

FIUDad: UNO was supposed to be easy, and we go out and lose 2 of 3. Talk about embarassing. Pete, how do these losses, coupled with the mid week losses last week, hurt our chances to go to the postJa season?

PP: I wrote it earlier this season and I'll write it again. At this moment, FIU baseball is not good enough to coast against any team. That's the game of baseball for you....where a team wakes up hitting like crazy and then goes out and gets a few outs and before you know it you've lost to a team you should not have lost to. Remember our GPP friend, Joaquin Andujar (right): "You can describe baseball in one word: Youneverknow".

Unless, FIU can finish 1 or 2 in the Sun Belt standings or reach the final of the Sun Belt tourney, I don't see the Panthers getting an at-large bid. The mid-week losses are killers for any team.

At 23-14 and currently 4th in the Sun Belt, FIU will finish where:

Vote and tell us your thoughts:



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