Just 9 days from FIU baseball opening night vs. Maryland at University Park Stadium (Feb. 19, 7 p.m.). Went to catch a couple innings of the Panthers intrasquad game last Saturday morning before FIU basketball tipped off against North Texas later that afternoon.
Here are some observations from the 12 outs I got to see:
Apparently, the Dave Feeley FIU Fitness strength training program is working pretty well.
But I was not sure it was Arboleya, because he did not throw as hard as this guy that was on the mound last Saturday. So just to make sure who this pitcher was I asked pitching coach Sean Allen. Well, it was Arboleya, who increased his velocity on his fastball from 86-88 last season to 92-93 mph this season.
Arboleya got help from his defense right from the first batter he faced. Lammar Guy hit a sinking line drive to left where freshman T.J. Shantz dove forward and made the catch.
The lone hit off AA that inning came on a double that Mike Martinez roped down the left field line. AA got highly-touted freshman Jabari Henry to line out to center to end the inning.
The starting pitcher for the other team was senior lefty Corey Polizzano (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo).
Junior Arrojo led off the bottom of the first with a perfectly placed bunt single just to the left of the first base line. After a sac bunt by Pablo Bermudez, Raiko Alfonso (left, thanks AJH photo) singled home Jr.
Freshman first baseman Rudy Flores then singled to right. Then outfielder Yoandy Barroso, a Miami Dade College transfer, got hit by a pitch, but it's an intrasquad game so he stayed in the box for another at-bat. CP managed to strike out YB to end the inning.
Arboleya came back with another scoreless inning. Michael Vargas led off with a walk and stole second. But AA got the next 3 batters to end the inning.
Polizzano threw a bagel in his second inning also. CP struck out the first batter. The lefty walked the next batter, but picked him off on the first throw. CP got the next batter to pop out to 3rd base.
Will be heading out to another intrasquad at some point this week to have some more for you and will have Turtle Thomas drop by to talk about the upcoming season.