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2010 Opening Night...Just 272 Days Away

Prattville, Ala. -- Short stay for your Panthers at the Sun Belt Tournament in Troy. It was 2 and Bar-BQ for FIU. But a pretty good Bar-BQ spread provided by the hospitable Troy University staff.

Some of you had dreams of Omaha this season for FIU, but let's be honest the Panthers were not going to win the Sun Belt Tournament. Yours truly thought the Panthers would at least make the Sun Belt semifinals, that's why I'm still in Bama. It being Memorial Day weekend, there are no flights available until Sunday morning.

FIU had a quick exit from the SBC tourney, because of a lack of pitching depth and as we saw firsthand a lack ofFiubase postseason experience which is quite different than playing in the friendly confines of University Park Stadium.

Still, looking at the FIU record books this was the greatest turnaround season in FIU baseball history. The Panthers improvement from 20-36 in 2008 to 34-21 this season was 14 wins better and 15 less losses better. The 2009 Panthers surpassed the 1995 FIU team which improved to 49-7 after going 37-19 in 1994.

Forget about the conditions of Troy's Riddle-Pace Field (the racquetball court/ballpark), for every team the ball bounced like that little rubber ball you would get as a kid from the 25 cent machines in Publix. At times the field came into play, but FIU lost because FIU didn't have enough pitching, FIU didn't hit like the .325 average it had during the regular season and FIU didn't catch the ball (7 errors in 2 games). It's a simple game: you hit the ball, you catch the ball, you throw the ball.

What FIU gained the most from the SBC Tournament was the postseason experience -- where every team takes their game to another level and every at-bat and every pitch is that much more important.

On the FIU 25-man travel roster, 0 players had ever played in a Sun Belt Tournament. FIU had not been Mollica to the conference tournament since 2006. 18 of the 31 players on the FIU roster this season were underclassmen (13 freshmen and 5 sophomores).

Like 2nd baseman Ryan Mollica -- 1 of only 2 seniors on the team (Steven Stropp the other sr.) --said after Thursday's elimination game: "This was a good experience for the young guys. They will be back here."

Opening Night 2010 is 272 days away and by then the Panthers will have to find replacements for Mollica, who is one of the best hitting infielders in FIU history. Stropp and likely Tyler Townsend, who is expected to be a high draft pick in June.

Raiko Alfonso likely will move from 3B to 2B next season. Sean Reilly, Doug Joyce and Casey Hanrahan will battle for the starting catcher job and there is plenty of power headed to FIU whether Tyler stays or goes pro.

Among the big bats expected at FIU next season (if MLB doesn't snatch them up in the draft) are: outfielder/infielder Josh Garton, one of the top hitters in Tennessee; 5-tool outfielder Yoandy Barroso; Texas slugging 1st baseman Rudy Flores and outfielder Jabari Henry, who is projected as a top 10 round draft pick. Of course, there could be more offensive surprises in store -- stay tuned for that.

But you don't win much if you don't have quality arms on the mound. Got a feeling Scott Rembisz andEbert  Tom Ebert will stick around for their senior seasons. SR said recently he sees himself coming back, because he still has a lot to learn pitching-wise. Ebert, who has been looked at by the Red Sox and Marlins, is a pre-med student and said he would like to graduate.

Among the help on the mound for next season: we'll get to see Dominican right-hander Miguel Mejia, who some believe has the best stuff of any FIU pitcher. And Bryam Garcia, who was an all-JUCO pitcher last season. Both Mejia and Garcia were ineligible this season and redshirted.

Also headed to the UP Stadium mound is Florida JUCO Pitcher of the Year Logan Dodds and Albert Cardenas from Palmetto Ridge High, whose velocity and nasty breaking pitches could make him the closer next season. And of course 272 days from now there might be other pitchers to don the blue and gold.

Comments

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looking forward to seeing Mollica in the majors... overall, it was a better improvement than i expected.

now the loooong wait for football season begins.

hey Pete,

will you still have the interview with the strength coach?

the sour taste is not so much losing, but losing to FAU to end the season. all in all, good season guys. go panthers!

Good to read some new pitching help is on the way with Miami Dade College's Dodds coming in...He was/is 11-1 last season with a 1.76 ERA....

Ok baseball is over ... FEED ME FOOTBALL!!
Interview the Waterboy if you have to... take pictures of the artificial tuft... what did TY have for lunch today. I NEED FOOTBALL!

Big time congrats to FIU baseball on a very good season. They are without a doubt headed in the right direction (as are basketball and football). Its great to be a Panther!

Great Season, but I thought anything less then Semis (with this team) would be a little disappointing. You need to have your goals put up high. But I do think with one more year of experience and another year of recruiting by Turtle this team needs to start thinking Sunbelt Championship Game!

Football here we come!

Wish we could have gone further, but great improvements were made, just gotta refine them for next season and add some more pieces. Can't wait for September!!!!

Well... it looks like the world of College Baseball is right again. Miami is in a regional for the 37th year in a row (#2 seed in Gainesville) and FIU is at home licking their wounds making excuses as for why they did a piss poor job in the SunBelt Tournament. You know what, last week, when everyone was talking about going to the SunBelt semifinal, final, or possibly winning, the team had the same amount of veterens with tourny experience. Funny how those things come to light only as a team is getting swept out of the tourny.

FIU, lose the excuses. You had a good year, much better than last (maybe b/c of the much weaker schedule) but the excuses coming out now are tainting it.

Any word on Latavious Williams?

CC, last week you were saying you were a lock to host? You failed to mention that your team's lackluster performace towards the end of the year prevented that from happening.You say we keep facts out of our posts but you turn around and do the same thing.

pikedanny - i do not remember saying they were a lock to host - i DO remember saying they were a lock to go to a regional, which was true.

If I did say they were a lock to host, which I dont think I did, I was obviously wrong.

CC good luck this week at G-ville regionals.. how is it that you all always end up at G- ville regionals... playing the gators... what luck that this year your goin to a regional where you swepted the host this season.. still gotta do it again but good luck

im happy w/ FIU's improvement, disappointed at our late season downward sprial.. and hopefully for the future under Turtle. but like FIUrage said.. Football please.. w/ a hint of Basketball recruiting if you will pete lol

So do we have a new B-Ball player or what?

We are waiting on http://fiugoldenpanthers.com/ to find out about Latavious Williams??

According to rivals report, he committed to Memphis in a close call over Georgetown. His AAU coach said FIU came in a distant 3rd, with Kansas St. presumably 4th....Oh well...let's sign the kids we have waiting on the wings, and get this class together for the summer!!

oh well,

NEXT!

(2nd try since my 1st post didnt go through)... CC - do you ever say anything smart??? The Canes got their @ $$es kicked in the ACC tourney also, so im not sure what you're bragging about. And once again, the Canes get put into one of the easier regionals this year. The committee should've taken out either jacksonville or bethune from that regional and exchanged it with either Ohio St. or Georgia from the FSU regional. It doesnt really matter though because UM too will be licking their wounds right next to the golden panthers very soon... If you would like to put a wager on the fact that the canes will not make it to Omaha, just let me know. GL

OMG the obsession with UCG is just tired.

Why can't you people just IGNORE this retard.

You are responding to an INTERNET DESPOT !!!

Seriously.

c-UM - in case you missed it - UM BEAT GA TECH in their Conf Tourny - a national ranked regional host.

How many teams did FIU beat?

Oh, and last time I checked - the ACC has 7 teams in the Regionals and 4 of them are host cities.

Please do not compare the ACC tourny and the SunBelt tourny and our respective teams outcomes - by doing so you are the one not looking to smart.

Who didnt beat Ga Tech in the ACC Tourny? Ga Tech was crap in that tournament. Are you really trying to get all excited about winning the 1st game against Ga Tech 8-6 in a game where Ga Tech left like 30 guys on base and really just blew that game?... Followed by a loss to FSU and a blowout to BC... FIU went 0-2, but they play double elimination, not the g@y round robin format... And i never compared ACC to sun belt, so i dont know what you're talking about. I guess you;re not looking too smart. I said UM got their a $$es kicked in their tourney too. Never once compared the 2 conferences. Whats your point about the 7 teams and 4 host??? i missed that... The SEC has 8 teams, great!! Just let me know about the bet. If your team is SOOOOO great, there shouldnt be a problem. We can throw $500 on it?.. Please circle one: Y or N

**Crickets**

Where's Candy Cane??

I'm with FIUPike on this one... leave CC alone to post his idiotic comments. He's a fool. We all know he is a fool. Let him be a fool. He wants attention and a response. Don't give it to him.

Anyways, now is the time to look forward to the 2009-2010 athletic season, and it should be a great year for FIU Sports! My expectations:

1) Our first bowl game in football, with 7 wins being a success. We need to beat Troy and FAU at home, and avoid getting blown out at Alabama and UF. It's a tough schedule, but we need to challenge for a Sun Belt title.

2) In basketball, a strong above .500 record should what we expect. I'm hoping we can even go pretty far in the Sun Belt tournament.

3) In baseball, an even better season than this year. Finish top 3 in Sun Belt standings, and then get to Sun Belt Championship game. We should be going to regionals on a regular basis from here on out.

4) Increased attendance. In football, basketball and baseball especially. We got to pack up FIU Stadium this season. We need to increase marketing, increase coverage, make headlines. We got to get the student body of FIU in those seats at all major sports.

FIU needs to create some sort of home field advantage with its fans. People need to show up. Im telling you, the sale of beer (not alcohol bc people will get too crazy) will attract fans. As sad as some of you may think it is, its the truth. Thats what made the Orange Bowl classic and other colleges around the nation are doing it.

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