TROY, Ala. -- We're less than 12 hours from the first pitch of the Sun Belt Tournament by FIU right-hander Scott Rembisz (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) where your Panthers will open the double elimination festivities with a game against Louisiana at 9 a.m. (Troy time) (10 a.m. Miami time) on Wednesday morning.
By the way, your Panthers had 4 players make the All-Sun Belt 1st team on Tuesday: Mike Martinez (1b), Ryan Mollica (2b), Tyler Townsend (OF) and Tim Jobe (DH). On the 2nd team was Tom Ebert.
The LIVE GPP BLOG for Game 1 begins at 8:45 a.m. (Troy time) and 9:45 a.m. (Miami time) and if you're in another part of the world, you'll need to do some math to figure out what hour and 45 minutes into that hour will the LIVE GPP BLOG begin in your neck of the woods.
You can also catch the FIU games on WRGP 95.3 FM (No worries with free advertising, Chris). And unlike last weekend in Boca Raton, I have scoresheets ready for the Sun Belt Tournament. You see FIU spoils you by providing scoresheets at FIU home games and I didn't bring any to Boca, but Marcus Nelson of fauowlacess.com let me borrow scoresheets for each game. (More free advertising for Marcus and our GPP readers, who are fans of the Hooters).
Got a call from my brother that it's been pouring rain in Miami today, not so here in Troy. It's been beautiful weather today and it's expected to stay that way for the tournament. Not a cloud in the sky, with a chilly temperature of 65 on Tuesday (yes, born and raised in Miami).
Check out a story on Scott Rembisz and Tom Ebert in the Miami Herald print and on-line editions on Wednesday. Speaking of pitching, got both of the Atlanta Braves channels on the hotel TV here so that's a positive, because not much else to do around these parts. Flipping between the Braves/Rockies and Family Guy as this post is being created.
As we know, every Sun Belt team can hit the snot out of the ball, but the winner of the Sun Belt Tournament will be which ever team can get those outs during rallies or that can prevent the big innings.
We likely will see some games this week resembling some football scores like FIU's 17-10 win over Florida Atlantic last Saturday, but the difference in that game was that Daniel DeSimone and Ty Main were able to get enough outs to stall Hooters rallies and give the Panthers bats a chance.
The Ragin' Cajuns come in as hot as their UL logo/Chili's logo having won 4 of their last 5 games and hit FIU pretty well earlier this season scoring 28 runs in 3 games, but losing 2 of 3 those games to FIU. Justin Robichaux leads the UL pitching staff with a 2.08 ERA.
Yes, the Panthers bullpen has been so-so this season and will play a huge role in this tournament whether you like it or not. Like we've said all season, there is talent in this bullpen, but the relievers have to learn to trust their stuff and attack the hitters.
The other thing is FIU has to just play baseball and not get caught up in the whole postseason thing. The Panthers can't let the bright lights blind them or play against the uniform like they did at Florida State earlier this season.
All this being said, not sure FIU has enough to win this tournament. The thought here is FIU goes 1-2 in the tournament lasting until Friday's semifinals. Don't think the Panthers have enough pitching to win it this year, but it's just a matter of time before TT brings in the arms to help FIU dominate the Sun Belt year in, year out.
Vote and tell us your thoughts about the Panthers in the Sun Belt Tournament?
Before you vote, spoke with Latavious Williams today. LW visited Georgetown last weekend. He said G-town was good, but is not sure where he's headed. LW said he hopes to make a decision by May 25. Unlike previous phone calls with LW, this time I got the impression from this latest phone call that LW is not 100% sold on G-town and is still trying to decide between the Hoyas, FIU, Kansas State and Memphis. We shall see. Now vote....