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3-0, Not Bad

Berm Good start to the season for the FIU baseball team by sweeping Maryland over the weekend -- capped off by a grand slam by Pablo Bermudez (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo). Although it's just three games, the Panthers looked solid in all three aspects of the game: pitching, defense and hitting.

But a better measure of how much FIU has improved from last season awaits this coming weekend when Oral Roberts comes to Miami for a 3-game series. The Golden Eagles have won their conference 12 straight years.

Still, there was plenty to be encouraged about from the first 3 games of the season.

PITCHING

First a look at the pitching, because everything in baseball begins with pitching. Friday's starter Scott Rembisz had one bad inning in an otherwise good outing. Starters Corey Polizzano and Aaron Arboleya pitched well too. CP moves up in the rotation this season with the Red Sox loss of Tom Ebert. Arboleya goes from mid-week starter last season to the Sunday guy this year.

While the starters gave up just 2 earned runs in 16 innings against the Terrapins, they weren't really challenged. UM batters seemed to be swinging like they just got out from under the snow in Maryland -- which they might have. Look for a more challenging test from the Oral Roberts lineup next weekend. ThoseFondon Eagles can swing the bats.

The Panthers bullpen started out the season in dominant fashion. In 11 relief innings in the series, FIU relievers gave up 1 run. When Friday's game was still hanging in the balance, reliever Eric Berkowitz made quick work of the Terps in his 3 innings until FIU put the game away late.

On Sunday, R.J. Fondon -- who for now will pitch out of the bullpen, because he's the only lefty FIU has in the pen -- prevented the series finale from becoming interesting. R.J. (right, thanks Sam Lewis photo) allowed just one run on a wild pitch when he had to work out of a bases loaded, no out jam in the sixth inning.

DEFENSE

FIU's defense looked better this past weekend than it did most of last season. The Panthers are certainly going to need better D this season, especially with the lack of a strikeout pitcher in their rotation. There are going to be a lot more balls in play from opponents' bats this season.

Among the defensive highlights from the opening series: Garrett Wittels (left, thanks AJH photo) acting like Brooks Robinson and diving on the 3rd base foul line to snare a grounder and throw out the runner at 1st. And freshman left fielder Jabari Henry showing off his cannon from left field to throw out a Terp at the plate in the 2nd inning of Witt Saturday's game.

HITTING

At the plate, FIU has always been able to hit and that's no exception this season. Although in Sunday's game, the Panthers gave away some at-bats that if they had been more patient would have had better swings and possibly put up double digits in runs again.

Wittels (7 for 12) and Bermudez (6 for 11) led the Panthers in hitting against UM. Wittels woke up the FIU lineup with a bunt base hit on Friday that sparked a 4-run rally. Of course, it also helped that after 4 innings of trying to pull everything UM starter Brett Harman was throwing, the Panthers started going opposite field and got their bats going.

In that 4-run rally, Bermudez had a 2-run single to bring home FIU's first two runs of the season and on Sunday the sophomore from the Miami Springs-to-FIU pipeline hit the granny to provide the Panthers runs.

Bermudez was named the Sun Belt Baseball Player of the Week on Monday.

Newcomer Yoandy Barroso had a good series going 4 for 8 in his FIU debut. Tim Jobe hit 1 of FIU's 2 home runs in Saturday's win. The other came from Jabari Henry, whose moonshot in his first college at-batJhenry landed around mid-field of the FIU soccer field.

Henry (right, thanks Victoria Lynch photo) has played just 2 college games, but he looks like he will be a very special player. Yes, his throw from left field and his 3-run bomba were impressive for the freshman's first game, but what stood out just as much was his 2nd college at-bat after the dinger.

In his 2nd at-bat, Henry fell behind 1-2 and had the discipline to lay off two consecutive borderline strikes [pitchers' pitches] that were called balls and worked a walk. I think 98% of freshmen would have swung and missed at one of those two pitches. That's one reason Henry was drafted by the Texas Rangers out of high school and I'm not talking about the Chuck Norris Walker Texas Rangers.

Logo PANTHER PAWSE

Aaapaw Below the Pawse vote on what you think of FIU's 3-0 start.

Aaapaw Will have a LIVE HOOPS BLOG from Thursday's FIU/Middle Tennessee game. It's the second to last game of the regular season before the Sun Belt tourney begins on Saturday, March 6 in Hot Springs, Ark. Will be live blogging from there too.

Q&A

Gooch7: PETE: I was hoping for a longer story about the Softball tournament that went on this past Pads weekend. That team is on FIRE! 7-1 start is pretty damn good! Second best start in school history..

PETE: I have another very important question for you: DO YOU THINK FOOTBALL WILL DO SOMETHING SPECIAL FOR THE OPENER AGAINST RUTGERS? SOFTBALL TEAM WORE JERSEYS THAT THEY AUCTION AFTER THE GAME. FOOTBALL CAN MAKE A KILLING DOING THAT!!

PP: FIU softball will get in the colleges column in this coming Saturday's paper. I've heard there are ideasSdpads being kicked around for the home opener against Rutgers on 9/11. How about FIU football wears khaki-colored camouflage jerseys similar to what the San Diego Padres (right, two photos) wear to honor the military during their Sunday home games throughout the regular season?

Aaapaw So what does a sweep of UM and a 3-0 start to the season mean for FIU?

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Great team effort. Keep up the hard work and we'll get very far this year.
I'm going to at least on of the games this coming weekend.
Go Panthers!!!

How about they finally do a walk to the stadium so that we can cheer them on.


I would prefer the walk through the Tamiami Park parking lot since that's where most tailgaters are.

We do appear to be an improved team, but I think we will know more following the series versus ORU. Maryland was .500 last year, and while they are ok, ORU is a perennial power in their conference and has historically done pretty well in regionals. If we can win the series or even sweep them, then that bodes well for the rest of the season.

Let's SWEEP the SBC and ROAR into the NCAA's !!!!

FIU should be able to do well against ORU this weekend. ORU has to replace its entire weekend pitching staff and closer. Although they will likely win the Summit Conference for the 13th straight year, they are weaker then usual. FIU should at least be able to take 2/3 this weekend with a good possibility for another weekend sweep.

Winning the series is a must. We need to start beating teams like this on a regular basis. They have a huge test after Oral Roberts with the tourney at ASU.

GO FIU!!!

Some nasty PITT fans on the ESPN boards...

Talk about high and mighty, what about delusions of grandeur ???

http://boards.espn.go.com/boards/mb/mb?sType=mbread&tid=6396042&tsn=&st=1&sport=ncaa&id=221

FIU Fans need to wake the F**K UP this weekend and come out to atleast come out to 2 of the 3 games... LSU's avg attendance for the weekend was slightly over 10k (not saying we are anywhere near LSU, nor do we have anywhere near the same facilities or $$$). Tell a friend to tell a friend, etc...

ORU will still be tough even though they had to reload pitching. They can smash and like jimmy said have won their conference 12 years in a row, 12 regionals, a regional final loss to ASU last year, and i think a super regional loss the year before. This is a seasoned team.

Ready to get down !!!! Let's get it FIU.

The Pitt Board: "Best athletes don't tend to select schools named after directions or parts of a state and they certainly stay away from "international" schools. You are never going to be a major player ever. Just saying."

Haha this is funny, true but funny. 305speed, whoever that is, makes FIU fans look like a bunch of idiots. Anyways great start to the season for the baseball team lets hope they continue to play well.

Like University of SOUTHERN California?....What a simplistic, dumb, and ridiculous comment.


Now, whether or not you are Willis Wright in a post above.....hell yeah Willis!! Come on Down!!!

Panthers on the Rise!!

That whole "coaches don't stay at 'international' schools" is a stupid comment. Oh yeah, just because of the school's name. FIU was founded 20 years too late or it probably would've been called University of South Florida (You know, seeing its actually in South FLA instead of Tampa). You can't look at a school's name and say it'll never succeed, especially a school with 30,000+ students. Man, I really hope FIU crushes Pitt just to put those arrogant Pitt fans in their place.

And NO to the camo jerseys. There are better ways to honor the military than to cause eye sores around the stadium. The whole black out/navy pants thing was silly enough.

Forget the camo this black out that - we need to go get some wins!

FYI, the Football Spring Practice starts on March 15th.....GO Golden Panthers!! #86

What was he thinking...going to someone else's board and talking smack.....
Particularly when we have no signature win and are coming out of a horrible year.... If he had posted coming out of 5-7, ok, but not after the showing last season....
Let's talk smack closer to the actual game not now. For now lets enjoy and embrace the Baseball team, and remember that out of 30 yrs of athletic futility the only programs that have ever consistently won are the Baseball and Soccer teams... So if infact we are going to change the tide and become relevant in athletics it will be with both these programs leading the way... I'm not forgetting the nationally ranked women's teams of the past (Nagy!) and present (volleyball), but most of all support and revenue is created by the men's programs.
If football can follow in the spring what baseball is doing now, then the communitty will notice......Let's GET IT.


The article talks about improved defense, but the game I caught (Friday Night)... showed a slow left fielder, who committed two coach-pitch errors......
Lazy approach to a ground ball that got past SS (took eyes of the ball pick up his glove and the ball booted of his shoe) and allowed what would of been a single to become a double.
Later he let a pop fly drop infor a hit, that was a very catch able hit.
I was glad to read that Turtle replaced him at Left for game 2. That's what good coaches do, he ought to talk to Mario and give him pointers.....PLAY YOUR BETTER PEOPLE.
Also, dont' see the SS as good defensively as Molica was last season.... SO they HAVE A LOT OF WORK to do.... GREAT TEAMS WORK!!!!!... LET"S GET IT PANTHERS...

Hey Jimmy, nice job on the scouting of ORU and their graduation of pitchers; but then you blow it. You never talk about sweeping or taking two of three from anybody. Baseball is a game where you have to take one game at a time, one inning at a time and one pitch at a time. If your head starts thinking about the number of wins you're going to get over the weekend; you're dead!

Why? because when things start going against you in the first game, you start to say, that's ok, we'll take the next two (instead of fighting hard to recover the lead). Then the problem is, ol' mo' starts to build on the other side and before you know it you're burried under a landslide of runs and are left scratching your head as to what went wrong.

Everybody reads these boards (whether they admit it or not) and not taking them one game at a time (no matter how cliche it might sound) and looking through opponents is a recipe for failure.

I saw all 3 games and aside from the dropped fly ball, which was tough one, Junior looked pretty good at SS. His hands are 20x quicker then molica's were. I thought molica had a decent amount of errors last year???

b, you're wrong. Pitt has had football at the FBS level since 1890, we have had football at the FBS level since 2005, yet we were able to pull down one of the nation's elite players this past recruiting cycle in Willis Wright. These guys talk about other schools being well ahead of us, but, including the transfer of Jeremiah Harden, UCF only recruited two more ranked players than us, this despite going on their 31st year of football.

USF, which has had a meteoric rise in college football, signed their first ESPN 150 player last year, and signed two this year. If we can produce and come away with a few OOC wins we might be able to replicate their recruiting success.

As for baseball, I do hope we can win out the series against ORU. We need momentum going out to Arizona, especially since we have to play Cal-Poly and ASU.

It really doesn't matter if we get one or two guys in the ESPN 150. That means NOTHING. This isn't a video game. Just because a recruit has a 5 star rating doesn't mean he will be a star. Coach Cristoballs would have a better team if he had the right coaches to evaluate those quality guys who fly under the radar and just want to play football. That is what USF does and that is why they had a #2 BCS ranking not too long ago.

Rivals, Scout, ESPN Recruiting...none of it really matters if the kids come here and lay an egg. Think about how many first round NFL draft picks were supposed to be great and ended up sucking.

Willis Wright is a great player, but he is ONE player. FIU needs an entire team to play football. They cannot win with 4 stud receivers and no one to pass the ball to them or block the man who's passing the ball to them.

Be realistic about expectations before going on some schools blog and talking a bunch of smack. It makes us look really foolish and it is an easy reminder that we are "that school that fought with UM."

I love the high hopes for our athletic teams but "Reality" does need to be part of what you hope for your team (any sport).
I realize that rankings dont mean much but I thik we all agree that we rather pick up a recruit that is "labled" 5-star then a guy that is a 1-star. Ranking can be wrong but not by that much.
As far as our coaching staff and the new guys we brought in, I truely think we need to give them a fair chance before throwing everyone in the fire. Their first test was a success by recruiting a pretty good class (maybe the best class in FIU history).
I honestly think we can be 6-6 or maybe 7-5 next football season. Basketball will improve their record next year by 15 more wins then this season, and Baseball should win more then 35 games this year..

Go FIU!!

hey Chia Panther, you have no clue what you are talking about. Although Mollica was good, our SS is probably one of the top 10 SS in the nation defensively. You absolutely know nothing about baseball if you really thought Mollica was better defensively then Arrojo. Here is a stat, Arrojo made 19 errors. 4 of them where fielding errors, the rest were throwing errors. The kid has more range than probably anyone in the country. He makes more errors because he could get to more balls. Learn the game of baseball buddy.

FIU is baseball country this week, now we have a board, with FIUer arguing with FIUer rather than those guys from US1.

Panther baseball is off to a good start, I hope they keep it going the rest of the season. lets win the BELT and the regional.

GO FIU

Lets start with the Belt. I once they make it to G-Ville for Regional they can play some good ball. But baseball is truly one game at a time.. Big weekend! Can't wait for Sunbelt Play (specially Middle and WKU)..

Go Golden Panthers!

Hardball will lead the way for FIU men's revenue sports starting this season. Football will follow posting a +3 win season and then next basketball season will finally blow the lid off this place.

We're sitting on gun powder folks...just need a spark to catch fire.

Go Panthers!

LOL....absolutely love the gun powder comment, gpantera....You sure have a way to raise my Golden Panther spirits....

Go FIU!!!!

Only gun powder? I say we're sitting on a powder keg! This team looks very promising thus far.

"Baseball is a game where you have to take one game at a time, one inning at a time and one pitch at a time."

I disagree partly. The goal should be to take 2 out of 3. Of course, you can't think ahead to the next game, next inning, etc. But before a series starts, the goal is 2 out of 3. You do that and you're gravy. That goal and taking it one game at a time aren't mutually exclusive.

FIUBaseball, lets not get carried away here... Like i said earlier, Arrojo has very quick hands and has decent Baseball speed (i dont think his 60 time is eye popping or anything like that). I def. wouldnt say top 10 in nation though.... hes a good player though

c-UM, tell me something, when does the 60 ever come in effect for a baseball player?? It's funny how all these people on here critisize players when that don't even play sports at the college level. You have know idea. By the way his 40 time is 4.5 which is way more important than a 60 time.

Love it gpantera, we are definitely a magazine full of gunpowder waiting for the right spark. If baseball can shine against ORU like it did versus Maryland, then we can win 40 games this year. Like you I expect to win three to four more games in football this year than last year, and if Isiah can sneak in another top tier recruit he can really make waves in year two.

I hate to put it that far out, but as long as improvement is shown in both basketball and football in 2010, then I think 2011 is our breakout year.

You know Wes', the goal is not 2 out of 3. The goal is to win every inning! Games, series, leagues, regionals, etc. all take care of themselves.

Check this youtube video out from the FIU Fan message board that FIUPantherfan put up: http://www.fiugoldenpanthers.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=1363

In it you will hear the interviewer ask the players what their goals are; some say Omaha, or the Sun Belt...but there is one kid who really gets it. He says 'to go out there and win games, every game'. That's it! nothing else matters, the rest is just gravey. Just go out and win games.

FIUbaseball: when scouts measure a baseball player's speed they use the player's 60-yard dash time. Nearly any scouting report on a baseball player that discusses that player's speed will refer to the player's 60-yard dash time.

Football relies upon 40-yard dash times, not baseball. If FIU's SS wants to play football then the 40-yard dash time might be important.

FIUbaseball is just defending his guy..for what ever reason he took comments about Arrojo personal. The entire comment was based on stupid errors at LF in game 1. BTW, he was replaced in game 2, by a freshman! Hence the comments of playing your best guy.
As far as defense... Range is important, but the ability to catch a ball is impart related to making the throw to the proper base, your point of 19 throwing errors and 4 fielding errors, very well made in my favor, throwing errors allow the runner to advance to 2B or 3B, fielding errors tend to allow only 1B.... The comparison to Mollica was impart of overall achievement as I made no reference to an error by the SS and we can all agree that Arrojo can not at this point fill his shoes. Mollica hit .413 in '08 and .354 in '09.
Arrojo hit .231 in '08 and .316 in '09. Therefore the comment stands.... He has alot of work to do. Let's not forget the guys who made the turn-around possible.
FIUbaseball, I'll gladly have any baseball conversation with you... Particularly to FIU Baseball, where I've been arround since Lowell's & Francisco, and Taylor. But no need to insult each other... and then you follow up with best 10 SS in the country...RIGHT?!!!

Looks like the marching band is back. They will make a formal announcement tomorrow.

Pete can you confirm about the Marching band. That would be awesome news..

I just hope its a band of at least 60-80players.
The Band at the High School i work at has like 40 players and I think its a joke.. We need a band and we need a good LOUD band that plays EVERY opportunity they get..

Go FIU!

A) i did play college sports at the D1 level..... B) I never said anything negative about Arrojo. I said he had really quick hands and decent baseball speed, but that saying he was top 10 SS in the nation was a very big stretch..... C) like Jimmy said, the 40 is NEVER NEVER NEVER used when talking about baseball players. You might not know as much as you think you do.

ChiaPanther, i apologize if I have insulted you, but you might want to go back and read what you wrote because you clearly stated that Mollica was better defensively than Arrojo. I know Mollica was better at the plate, I never argued that. Mollica is a great player thats why he's playing pro ball right now. What I'm saying is that you are wrong that Mollica was better defensively. Trust me I know.
And c-UM, I know baseball uses the 60, but ask any real baseball player if it makes any sense at all. Baseball players relate more to the 40 than the 60. Oh and by the way, Arrojo led the conference in stolen bases last year. Baseball speed and the 60 are totally different. You can't teach that, it's all natural. The fastest guy on the team ( who ran a 6.68 60 yard dash, I hope you think that is fast) won't come near Arrojo in stolen bases this year because he doesnt have that baseball quickness. So much for 60 times right?

No, the 60 is used more bc it shows them running from home to 2nd. And i agree with the stolen bases thing, hence the "he has decent baseball speed"... 6.68 isnt that fast. Once you get to 6.4/6.5 your talking about pretty fast. Under that ur flying. But your beating a dead horse here because i never said he was slow and i was the first one to say he had decent baseball speed, you were the one who brought up the 40...... On another note, before the season perfect game did choose arrojo as something like the top defensive s/s in florida.

Running from home to second is not even close to the same as the 60. Look all I'm saying is that Arrojo is better than what people think. He is faster than what people think, and what you said about what Perfect Game said makes my point even better that he is one of the best SS.

LOLOLOL!!!!!!! From home plate running to 1st base and then running to 2nd base is exactly 180 FEET or in other words 60 YARDS!!!!!! LOL, but thats not important.... I agree he is a good player, never said he wasnt.

im just going to throw this out there, 60 yards straight is a lot different than running from home plate, rounding first and then coming into second. which do you think will take longer? a straight line or half of a diamond? Junior has great baseball speed and quickness, you dont need a mind blowing 60 time to steal bags or have good range at SS, just my view on it.....anyways, how about a sweep of Oral Roberts this weekend...any takers? SWAG!

haha...Anonymous, obviously c-UM doesn't know that a striaght line is quicker than running from home to second, which is why I said that the 60 is so much different than running from home to second. Back to my other point, the longest STRAIGHT line a baseball player runs on offense is 90 feet (30 yards) which is a lot closer to the 40 yard dash than the 60. It is clear that Anonymous knows the game of baseball. Oral Roberts has no idea what's coming to them!!

I wanted to go to a game last week but I couldnt. For sure ill go see at least one this wknd with my family, looks like OR has a good baseball team which is good cuz Im an FIU fan but I dont wanna see a boring game lol. We're on the way to becoming at least a good school athletically guys. I predict a 30-35 win baseball season, at least 10 more wins in basketball next year and with the player including of course Willis plus the new coaches a 6-6 or 7-5 football season (hopefully with a bowl game). Our main problem in a year or two will be not hating the bandwagon fans that are sure to follow FIU's improved teams unlike us THE REAL FANS who have been here and will be here no matter what.

With the new players*

FIUBaseball, you wrote "Running from home to second is not even close to the same as the 60."... Distance wise, it is the exact same. We werent talking about which took longer. It is obvious that rounding bases would take longer then a straight line, but i was explaining to you and obviously Anonymous why the 60 was used for baseball players, instead of the 40. It wasnt my choice to time the 60, i just know why they do it and if you try to tell me different then you obviously have no clue about baseball and recruiting/scouting of players. If you can show me ANY recruiting site that has a Baseball players 40 listed, then i will give you a bj behind homeplate during the 7th inning stretch. Ive been around baseball for over 20 years and have been around football for over 11 years. Im very familiar with both sports and their process of evaluating players.

Sorry dude I don't roll that way. And I play the game so I think i know how the scouts evaluate the players. What I'm saying though is that the 60 shouldn't be used for baseball because there is no comparison. There is no way you can compare a 60 time to running from home to second. I know that's what they do I'm just saying it's pointless and you can ask any real baseball player. Obviously your not understanding what I'm saying here. It's ok though because I'm done trying to explain myself to you.

Well, if you know the game, then you know that scouts also time a player from home to 1st (during games). I think on average its usually around 4.5. They also look at what kind of jumps they have on the base path, what kind of breaks they make on balls, etc... But def dont do a 40.... See you at the game tonight, BRING GIRLS!!!! lol

At one point, i was a real baseball players and myself nor anybody around me never said it was pointless. We just ran it as fast as we could and worked on bringing our time down.

Dude, I know what scouts do. Again, I am saying that they should get rid of the 60 and replace it with the 40. That's all I'm saying. Sorry, can't bring any girls. I will be a little busy at 7:00pm.

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