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29 posts from April 2010

April 30, 2010

New Hoop Recruit; LIVE Baseball Blog Saturday

Will be at the ballpark Saturday evening LIVE BLOGGING with you good people for the 2nd game of the 3-gameAbron series between FIU and ULM. Will be on-line at 5:54 p.m. First pitch is at 6 p.m.

Until then, whether you are out barking with your pup at the FIU softball park on Saturday afternoon or waiting for the Golden Dazzlers audition blog, here is some FIU hoops recruiting news to tie you over.

4-star power forward Devonta Abron (right) could possibly commit as early as next week to play for FIU in 2011. Abron, a 6-7, 200-pounder from Dallas Seagoville High in Texas, is ranked as the No. 12 power forward in the nation for 2011 and No. 64 player overall for the 2011 class.

Abron is also being recruited by Texas A&M, Arkansas, Virginia Tech and Marquette.

Will let you know on here if and when DA says he will become a Panther.


Nice night for a game, as the Panthers look to snap a three-game losing streak. They've got their emerging ace on the hill, R.J. Fondon (2-2, 3.38 ERA). ULM counters with Drew Granier (3-4, 7.26). Garrett Wittels will get his first crack at extending his hitting streak to 35 games -- which would break the FIU record -- in the bottom of the first. He's batting third.


The Golden Panthers (26-14, 10-8 in the Sun Belt) return to SW Eighth Street for a three-game set with Louisiana-Monroe (15-25, 5-13), beginning Friday at 7 p.m.

We'll be live-blogging in this space, beginning at 6:55ish, and follow along as Garrett Wittels tries to break the FIU hitting streak record. He's currently at 35 games, tied for the all-time mark with Anthony Hicks (1989).

April 28, 2010

GW Ties All-Time FIU Hit Streak; More FIU in NFL

Gwit With his double off the center field wall this afternoon in Sessions Stadium in Jacksonville, FIU third baseman Garrett Wittels tied former Panthers outfielder Anthony Hicks for the all-time FIU hitting streak at 35 consecutive games.

With the hit, GW (left, thanks Sam Lewis photo) also broke the Sun Belt Conference's all-time hitting streak record. GW had been tied with former FIU third baseman Bryan Pullin at 34 games. When Hicks played at FIU, the Panthers were not members of the Sun Belt yet.

GW looks to own the all-time FIU mark on Friday by trying to get another base knock against ULM.

I didn't give you guys a play-by-play on GW's at-bats today, because I figure I was playing with the baseball gods yesterday and sure enough GW went 0 for 3 before Tuesday's game was cancelled due to rain.

As the old saying goes: "You don't [flock] with a streak." Of course, flock is not the exact word that goes in there, but this is a family blog.


Former FIU defensive lineman Armond Willis (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) has been invited to workout with the Detroit Lions. Nice to hearAw as Armond showed up at FIU from Tennessee as a walk-on 3 years ago and now is going to get his chance in the NFL.

Traded e-mails with Jeremiah Weatherspoon's agent today and he says Spoon will workout for the Cincinnati Bengals this week and possibly the New Orleans Saints next week. Should Spoon sign with the Bengals, then obviously there is no need to visit the Super Bowl champions off of Bourbon Street. Thanks, Jsuarez88.

Dog Still nothing new on Scotty Bryant or Carlos Munera, who both should get some NFL looks in my opinion.


The FIU softball team is hosting a "Bark at the Park" for their doubleheader against ULM on Saturday at 2 p.m. All dogs get in with their owner for $3 and water and pooper scooper will be provided.


While dogs are in the stands on Saturday at the softball game, beauties will be auditioning to beAud part of the Golden Dazzlers squad for the 2010-11 FIU sports season. I've been invited by the Dazzlers to watch the tryouts on Saturday afternoon and will have photos for you on here next week.

April 27, 2010

GW at the Bat

FIU baseball takes on Jacksonville tonight at 6:30 p.m. from Sessions Stadium and Panthers 3rd basemanGw Garrett Wittels will attempt to tie the all-time FIU and break the all-time Sun Belt Conference hitting streak record.

Needed to make a correction from yesterday's post. The Sun Belt Baseball Media Guide has the wrong information when it comes to all-time hitting streaks in the conference.

The record holders for all-time SBC hitting streak is GW (top, right, thanks Sam Lewis photo), who currently has a 34-game hit streak and former FIU 3rd baseman Bryan Pullin (below, right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) who put together a 34-game hitting streak in 2006.

The Sun Belt lists former Troy outfielder Tom King as the record holder with 31 games, but that is wrong.Pullin King is 3rd all-time now that GW has caught Pullin.

FIU's all-time record holder is Anthony Hicks, who hit in 35 straight games in 1989, but FIU was not in the Sun Belt at the time so it is not a Sun Belt record, but rather just an FIU record.

Anyway, now that we set the record straight in more ways than one, check back here around 6:30 p.m. tonight to see how GW does in his 1st at-bat.

I will get a pitch-by-pitch account of GW's at-bats in tonight's game and continue to update this post each time GW goes to the plate until he gets a hit in Tuesday's game.

GW's At-Bats:

GW -- batting 5th today -- will lead off in the top of the 2nd inning. Jacksonville goes down 1-2-3 in the 1st inning. GW will lead off the 2nd.

1st at-bat: strike, ground out to SS.

Bot of 3rd now, FIU down 3-0....GW will bat 2nd in the top of the 4th.

2nd at-bat: strike, ball, strike, pop fly to 2nd.

Bot 4th now, FIU down 3-2, GW will bat 4th in the top of the 5th

3rd at-bat: ball, grounder to pitcher.

Tonight's game has been CANCELLED and will not be made up. GW's streak stays intact.

FIU will take on Jacksonville at 3 p.m. on Wednesday. Will have GW's at-bats on Wednesday here.

April 26, 2010

GW Going For Hit Streak Record

Gw Tuesday evening in Jacksonville, FIU third baseman Garrett Wittels attempts to tie the all-time FIU hit streak record held by former FIU outfielder Anthony Hicks, who set the Panthers record by hitting in 35 consecutive games in 1989.

GW has a 34-game hitting streak, which ties former FIU third baseman Bryan Pullin for 2nd all-time. Two games ago, GW (left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) broke the Sun Belt Conference's all-time hitting streak when he surpassed former Troy outfielder Tom King, who hit in 31 consecutive games in 2006.

I will have semi-live pitch-by-pitch coverage of GW's at-bats right here on the GPP during Tuesday's FIU vs. Jacksonville game.

What's semi-live you ask?

If you ever saw the movie "Bull Durham" (photo, below left) -- which has been recommended several times before on the GPPTeddy by yours truly -- then think of Durham Bulls radio play-by-play announcer Teddy Cullinane (right) and how he "announced" the Bulls road games.

From the friendly confines of his radio studio in Durham, Teddy would call the Bulls road games as if he was there at the road ballpark with the Bulls. Teddy would be on the phone with someone that is actually at the game and he would do play-by-play and make sound effects with two wood Bull sticks (photo, right) to produce the sound of the ball hitting the bat. Teddy would also pump in taped crowd noise.

Now you guys can't hear me so I won't be hitting two wood sticks or pumping in crowd noise, but I will have someone at Sessions Stadium in Jacksonville giving me pitch by pitch when GW is up at the plate and I will post that during GW's at-bats on here Tuesday.


Despite the Panthers dropping 2 out of 3 to Western Kentucky last weekend, FIU remains right in the thick of the Sun Belt Conference race.

Only 2 games in the loss column separate the 1st place team (South Alabama) and the 6th place teamsBelt (FIU & Louisiana) in the SBC. Sun Belt Standings

Like they did against New Orleans, the Panthers need a sweep this weekend of a lesser opponent in ULM.

FIU hosts ULM in a 3-game series beginning Friday night. I can't be there Friday, but I will have LIVE BLOGS of games 2 and 3 of the series on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday's 1st pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. Will be on-line at 5:54 p.m.

The Warhawks (15-24, 5-13 Sun Belt) are second to last in the conference in batting average and runs scored. Meanwhile, FIU remains tops in the Sun Belt in hitting with a .340 team average.

ULM's pitching staff is dead last in the conference with an 8.08 ERA and opponents are hitting .321 against Warhawks pitchers.

Of course, as Joaquin will remind us, this game is not played on paper. So let's see what happens.


Aaapaw To answer FIUFan's question, as of this post there have not been any other Panthers to sign with an NFL team.

If we are going on production alone -- which isn't that what you look for in any sport -- I Pmc agree with FIUFan that Scott Bryant should get a shot in an NFL camp. Carlos Munera is another former Panther that should get a chance with an NFL team.

Aaapaw Good to hear from former FIU QB Paul McCall (right, thanks AJH photo) on the last post. Like all the former Panthers -- such as O'Darris D'Haiti, who checks in here from time to time -- you guys are always welcome on the GPP. Drop by the GPP anytime, PMC and let us know what you're up to on the way to Mars.

Aaapaw GW has had enough firepower in his bat this season to get him to Mars. How far do you think GW will get? If he gets past 40 games, we'll do another poll.

April 25, 2010

Andy the Dolphin

Former FIU offensive lineman Andy Leavine (right) was invited to workout for the Miami Dolphins.Leavine

Dolphins Andy at 6-5, 300 pounds certainly has the size to play in the NFL and his versatility playing different positions on the offensive line will help when he begins work at the Dolphins practice facility in Davie later this week.

Had a chance to speak with Andy on Sunday afternoon and this is what the latest Panther to get a shot in the NFL had to say:

PP: How did the process happen after the NFL Draft?

AL: The Dolphins were among some of the teams talking to me before the draft. They were asking me if I can play center. They had never seen me snap before and I told him I had played center my whole life until I got to FIU in 2006. So Miami is bringing me in on Thursday to camp. I report with all the Dolphins draftees and we'll start rookie mini-camp on Friday.

PP: It's been 4 years since you last played center at Springstead High. You played mostly left tackle and left guard at FIU. Do you think it will be a big adjustment getting in there and snapping the ball?

Al AL: I'm very confident in my abilities. Football is football. It's all relative. If you can play left tackle, you can play left guard and if you can play left guard, you can play center. Center is the only position I had played on the line until college. I'm grateful for the opportunity to see what I can do.

PP: What did you do this past weekend while the draft was going on?

AL: I was working out all weekend with [former FIU tight end] Eric Kirchenberg. In fact, I'm getting ready to run some 110s now with Kirch before I called you. I didn't really watch much of the draft. I thought I was snubbed coming out of high school and the same coming out of college. But I am thankful to get the opportunity now. This is my time to shine. Miami is a great organization. They have a great coaching staff and I'm looking to make the most of it.

PP: Did you get calls from the Dolphins or other teams on Saturday in the late rounds of the draft?

AL: [Former FIU Director of Football Operations and current Dolphins scout] Matt Winston was texting me at the end of the draft seeing how I was doing and asking me if other teams had contacted me. The Rams, Jaguars and a couple of other teams contacted me. Dolphins offensive line coach [Dave DeGuglielmo] told me he wanted to see me play center and see what I got.

Ab PP: I would imagine your family is pretty happy about you getting an opportunity with the hometown NFL team. Has everyone in your family always been a Dolphins fan or did they side with the Bucs?

AL: All my family has always rooted for the Dolphins and my wife as well. My wife's father is from Fort Lauderdale and he is probably one of the biggest Dolphins fans around.

PP: Now you are the third FIU player currently in the NFL. I know FIU football has only been around 8 years heading into the 9th season this fall, but what does that mean to you that you are in select company when it comes to former Panthers to play in the NFL?

AL: There has always been a talent pool at FIU for football players. It's an honor to be among those guys to get a shot at the next level. I know Antwan (left) has made it and Chandler (right) is with the Chiefs andCw I want to be that next FIU player to make it. I got a lot of work to do, but I'm going to make the most of it.


April 23, 2010

Growling w/ El Oso

Sb With solid 2010 seasons, you are more likely to see FIU Panthers walk across the Radio City Music Hall stage in next April's NFL Draft than you are in this year's draft. However, that's not to say that a group of former FIU players won't catch on as free agents or get invited to an NFL camp this summer.

One of those former Panthers looking to get a shot at the next level is linebacker and FIU's all-time leading tackler Scott Bryant (left, thanks AJH photo).

Checked in with El Oso and this is what he had to say about possibly joining El Monstruo at the next level.

PP: How's it going as you try to get a chance to play pro? What are you doing while the draft is going on this weekend?

SB: So far, so good when it comes to my preparation. I'm back home in Lakeland for the weekend spending time with my family watching the draft. I'll be back in Miami to graduate from FIU on April 27. I'm focused on getting on a team or getting in a mini-camp. I don't care how I get there. I just want a chance to show that I could play football at the next level.

PP: What have you heard about your draft chances and what teams have shown interest in you?

SB: My agent has told me that he's hearing I can go in the 7th round or possibly sign as a free agent. I'veFins worked out for the Dolphins, Bucs and the Raiders and Bears have shown some interest. I'm looking to play as a linebacker at the next level, but if a team says "Can you play another position?" then I'm playing that position.

PP: Have any teams asked if you can play elsewhere or anything like that?

SB: The Dolphins have talked about me possibly playing safety. They play a 3-4 defense and at my size (5-10, 225) it would be tough to play outside linebacker in the 3-4.

PP: Have you ever played safety?

SB: No, I have not, but I've always thought about it. I'm always mistaken for a safety or a running back, but I always played middle linebacker at Lakeland High and then I played outside linebacker at FIU. I think the biggest thing in making the switch to safety would be the footwork needed to play the position and being able to react to the plays. I trained for about a month with Jeremiah Weatherspoon and he helped me out a lot. Maybe we can play together again, he was getting some interest from Miami and Seattle.

Bouie PP: Did you speak to any past players about what to expect this weekend and into next week?

SB: I got off the phone this morning with Alexander Bostic (right, making a tackle vs. Troy, thanks AJH photo) and earlier this week I spoke with Keke Bouie (left, thanks AJH photo). They both told me to keep my head right and don't get discouraged. When those guys both played they both had a never-give-up attitude and those are the kind of people I look up to. And you can see that as they both continued playing in arena football. Keke won a championship [United Indoor Football title playing for the Sioux Falls Storm in 2008] and Bostic is playing arena ball in Atlanta.

PP: What have you heard about what teams like about you?
SB: My agent has told me that scouts like my productivity and always being around the ball since I startedBostic playing football. They've said when they look at film if I'm not in making the tackle that I'm always in the play. As far as the mental aspects, they won't know about that until they sit down with me and ask me about the plays.

*[Last December, SB broke the all-time FIU tackles record previously held by KB]

PP: What's your mentality as far as your future if you don't get that chance?

SB: I will never be disappointed, because you never give up and you keep on going in life. Only the strongest survive and I will always know that I gave everything that I had and I never gave up. I trained and played my hardest and I did my best.

Apaw Thanks to SB for taking the time to join us here and best of luck to El Oso.

From talking with several scouts throughout last season, these are the Panthers most likely to get a look in NFL camps before the 2010 season.

Jeremiah Weatherspoon -- Although JSpoon did not have the spectacular senior season to open up some NFL eyes, the former Panthers safety has all the physical tools to play at the next level. It's just matter now for JSpoon to get a chance to show those physical tools. Some scouts said they like JSpoon's Munera athleticism, speed and size (6-2, 225) for the position.

Carlos Munera -- As you all know CM (right, thanks AJH photo) has got a cannon for a right leg and it doesn't hurt that he's built like a linebacker (6-2, 232). Besides the long punts, CM has the ability to pin an offense deep in the red zone. The one thing mentioned by some was that CM needed to be a little more consistent.

John Ellis -- With his size and smarts, the Bus -- as he was called by his teammates -- could get a look for a team in need of fullback depth or special teams play. You remember his fake punt run last season to spark the comeback against North Texas.


Apaw While FIU released a 2-deep chart today, I wouldn't read too much into it. A lot of national publications ask for a depth chart after the springtime as they prepare to write their annual college football previews instead of actually showing up to camp in August and doing some work.

Yes, there are some givens on there like Goodbye, Gaitor, Little Canada, etc. However, remember the highly-touted freshman class has yet to step foot on campus, plus training camp has not happened and the season opener is still more than 4 months away. How about a 12 noon start against Rutgers on Sept.Shakira 11? Could be, to see if the Scarlet Knights can stand the heat down here.

Anyway, those of you on the ledge come down, relax and have a cold one.

Apaw The GPP Worldwide Readership keeps on adding new friends around the globe. A reader from Bogota, Colombia [Shakira's native country] says FIU baseball should finish 11-4 or better in the final 15 conference games. As of this writing, the Panthers defeated Western Kentucky 7-6 in 10 innings late Friday.

Get out your pencils and scorecard for an update:

Follow Me On Twitter! (If You'd Like)

I'm going to do my best to embrace this social networking thingy, so yes, I have a Twitter account.

Follow me @AdamHBeasley.

I'll do my best to Tweet more than once a month. And yes, there will be FIU content, plus whatever else pops into the old gray matter.

Latest 2-Deep Announced

While it's likely going to be a Panther-less 2010 Draft, there's some FIU football to discuss this weekend, as the Panthers have released their most recent depth chart.

Feast your eyes, and feel free to comment:


Wide receiver

82    Greg Ellingson (Sr., 6-3, 200, Tampa, Fla.)
88    Jacob Younger (R-So., 6-2, 175, Titusville, Fla.)

Left tackle

79    James Wiggins (R-Jr., 6-4, 270, Sylmar, Cali.)
61    Curtis Bryant (Jr., 6-2, 275, Miami, Fla.)

Left guard

53    Giancarlo Revilla (So., 6-2, 275, Miami, Fla.)
74    Chris Cawthon (R-So., 6-4, 285, Loganville, Ga.)


76    Brad Serini (Sr., 6-3, 300, Highland, N.Y.)
67    Kevin Van Kirk (R-Sr., 6-3, 285, SW Ranches, Fla.)

Right guard

77    Cedric Mack (Sr., 6-4, 320, Torrance, Calif.)
57    Kenny White (R-So. 6-3, 275, Miami, Fla.)

Right tackle

66    Dave Istanich (So. 6-6, 305, Johnstown, Pa.)
54    Rupert Bryan (So. 6-3, 280, Belle Glade, Fla.)

Tight end

30    Jonathan Faucher (Jr., 6-3, 235, Weston, Fla.) or 17  Dudley LaPorte (R-Jr., 6-4, 250, Strafford, Conn.)   
15     Colt Anderson (R-Jr. 6-4, 230, Omaha, Neb.) 

Running back

28    Darriet Perry (Jr., 5-9, 200, Valdosta, Ga.) or 6    Jeremiah Harden (So.,5-11,190, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)
35    Trenard Turner (Sr., 5-9, 205, Miami, Fla.)   


14    Wayne Younger (Sr., 6-3, 200, Cocoa, Fla.) or 13   Wesley Carroll (R-Jr., 6-1, 202, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.)

Wide receiver

2    Junior Mertile (R-So., 6-0, 195, Miami, Fla.)
80    Jason Frierson (Sr., 5-9, 185, Miami, Fla.)

Wide receiver

4    T.Y. Hilton (Jr., 5-10, 180, Miami, Fla.)
5    Wayne Times (So., 5-11, 180, Miami, Fla.)


Defensive end

97    Tourek Williams (So., 6-4, 255, Miami, Fla.)
10    Jonathan Jackson (R-So., 6-3, 250, Miami, Fla.)   

Defensive tackle

48    Kasey Smith (R-So., 6-3, 275, Daytona Beach, Fla.)
75    Andre Pound (R-So., 6-3, 285, Vero Beach, Fla.)

Nose tackle

96    Joshua Forney (So., 6-4, 265, South Hollands, Ill.) or 99   Thatcher Starling (Sr., 6-3, 270, Hutchinson, KS)
93    Andrew Mattox (So., 6-1, 270, Miami, Fla.)

Defensive end

94    James Jones (Jr., 6-1, 250, Lakeland, Fla.)
31    Jarvis Wilson (Sr., 6-2, 235, Miami, Fla.)


41    Kenny Dillard (So., 6-0, 215, Miami, Fla.)
16    Franklin Brown (R-So., 6-0, 210, Miami, Fla.)


34    Winston Fraser (R-Fr., 6-1, 230, Miami, Fla.)
3    Larvez Mars (So., 5-11, 210, Apopka, Fla.) or  45   Aaron Davis (Jr., 6-1, 245, Winter Haven, Fla.)


13    Toronto Smith (Sr., 5-11, 225, Tallahassee, Fla.)
22    Markeith Russell (So., 6-1, 215, Miami, Fla.)


7    Anthony Gaitor (Sr., 5-10, 185, Miami, Fla.)
24    Emmanuel Souarin (R-So., 5-11, 190, Miami, Fla.)

Strong safety

11    Ashlyn Parker (6-0., 215, Port St. Joe, Fla.)
21    Chuck Grace (Jr., 5-11, 195, Tampa, Fla.) or 18    Kreg Brown (Sr., 5-11, 195, St. Petersburg, Fla.)

Free safety

25    Jonathan Cyprien (So., 6-0, 205, N. Miami Beach, Fla.)
1    Marquis Rolle   (Sr., 6-2, 197, Orlando, Fla.) or 23   Terrance Taylor (So., 5-11, 190, Miami, Fla.)


27     Jose Cheesborough (R-Fr., 5-9, 160, Jacksonville, Fla.) or 29 Dezeriah Johnson (R-Sr., 6-1, 190, Orlando, Fla.)
37     Derrick Jones, Jr. (So., 5-9, 190, Miami Springs, Fla.)

April 21, 2010

Predict the Last 18

Several of you have been making projections on how FIU baseball will finish the rest of the way. Here's where FIU baseball stood one year ago today: 23-14 overall record and 10-8 in the Sun Belt. The reason FIU had played 18 conference games to this point last year is because the Panthers had yet to take their conferenceRemb bye weekend.

If you compare last year's mark at this point to this year's you'll see that FIU is pretty much in the same position. Currently, the Panthers are 22-14 and 9-6 in conference. In 2009, the Panthers started Sun Belt play 9-6 as well.

Considering, that to start 2010 FIU lost its top pitcher from last season and it's projected No. 2 or 3 starting pitchers, you could say the Panthers have played pretty consistent to last season especially with an undermanned pitching staff this season. Granted with a couple more pitchers stepping up, FIU could easily be 11-4 right now in SBC play, but that's not the case.

Regardless, the starting rotation for the most part has been steady with Scott Rembisz (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo), R.J. Fondon and Aaron Arboleya. With his effective midweek starts, Daniel DeSimone has helped keep the FIU bullpen ready for weekend series.

After the 9-6 Sun Belt start in 2009, FIU went 9-6 the rest of the way to finish 18-12 and 4th in the SBC heading into the conference tourney. Of course, we all know what happened in Troy, but that's another story for another day when the Panthers reach Murfreesboro in late May.

Yes, you read "reach Murfreesboro in late May" in the previous sentence. Another 9-6 finish will most likely get FIU a similar standing considering that 4 of the Panthers last 5 series of the season are against teams (Western Kentucky, Arkansas State, South Alabama, Florida Atlantic) currently ahead of them in the standings. SBC standings

However, I'm thinking more like FIU will go 8-7 or 7-8 in SBC play the rest of the way and with taking 2 of 3 from Jacksonville and Bethune Cookman in the three remaining non-conference games you're looking at a 32-22 or 31-23 regular season for the Panthers and anywhere from 5th to 7th place in the SBC. Of course, any key injuries could change this type of regular season ending.

Sure, anything better than 9-6 will likely vault FIU into the top 3 of the conference, but considering the remaining opponents and the Panthers lack of pitching depth I think anything better than 9-6 might be a stretch.

Entering this weekend's 3-game series with Western Kentucky, the Panthers are tied for 5th with the Hilltoppers in the SBC standings. FIU has a 4-game lead and series win on 8th place Troy and is 5 games ahead of UALR and ULM.

Your turn now to chime in on how FIU will finish the season?


Apaw Was expecting to have another FIU hoop recruit to tell you about, but the confirmation has not come in yet. This would be in addition to the latest offer made to Michigan prep point guard A.J. Mathew, who would be for 2011. When I have another recruit to tell you about,Ruwi you will have it.

Apaw In our last poll question, we reached a new part of the world on the GPP as a reader from Ruwi, Oman (in southeast Asia -- if you didn't know where that was, don't feel bad neither did I. Had to google it.) Anyways our newest friend from Oman thinks FIU baseball should have 20+ wins by now. Agreed. Vote in the latest GPP poll question below the scorecard.

April 20, 2010

See You Later Gator

Mcclain Nice homecoming for FIU softball coach Beth McClendon, a Florida alum, as her FIU softball team took down No. 4 Florida earlier this afternoon 8-3. The second game of the doubleheader was rained out.

Ashley McClain (left) was 2 for 4 with 2 RBI and belted her team leading 9th HR. Jessy Alfonso and Jenny Welch each also had 2 hits.

Kasey Barrett (right) picked up her team-leading 15th win for the Panthers and allowed just 2 earned runs.Barrett

FIU was down 2-1 after the first inning, but scored runs in the 2nd, 3rd and 4th innings to take control of the game. The Panthers added 3 runs in the 6th inning to put it away.

 * Thanks to Alex J. Hernandez photos

April 17, 2010

UNO vs. FIU Doubleheader LIVE BLOG

Uno Logo Although Cubs great Ernie Banks probably wouldn't agree with today's weather, he'd still proclaim "Let's Play Two!" And that's what FIU and New Orleans are going to try and do.

The weather is holding up thus far. The reason for 2 games today is it's supposed to pour all day on Sunday and with Sun Belt time restrictions for Sunday games, the Panthers and Privateers would never get Sunday's game in.

It's FIU faculty and staff Day at the ballpark today where each FIU employee can bring four of their closestDaz friends or family to both ballgames for free.

Speaking of friends, the Golden Dazzlers put on their variety show tonight from the Bank. The ladies begin performing at 7 p.m. It's an ugly weekend weather-wise, but before the first pitch we'll brighten the blog....

April 16, 2010

FIU/UNO Live Blog

Good evening from FIU Baseball Stadium, where it's a pleasant 75 degrees and cloudy.

Hope is the rain holds off today and tomorrow, because the skies are supposed to open up Sunday (thus, Sunday'sgame getting moved up today).

On the mound: Kevin Berry (2-0, 5.25 ERA) for UNO; and R.J. Fondon (1-2, 3.99) for FIU. Fondon is moved up a day in the rotation in place of Scott Rembisz, who is battling shoulder soreness. He could go tomorrow.

SCHEDULE CHANGE: Baseball DH Saturday

Just heard from FIU that Sunday's series-ending game against New Orleans has been moved up a day.

That means there's a doubleheader Saturday, with the first game beginning at 1 p.m., and the nightcap getting underway 45 minutes after the opener's conclusion.

FIU/New Orleans Baseball Live Blog Friday Night

Fiubase The Golden Panthers (19-14, 6-6) open up a three-game home series against the Privateers (10-22, 2-13) Friday night at 7 p.m. Going to try my hand at live blogging for the first time, so check back just a few minutes before first pitch.

Also, wanted to let you all know that once I get into a routine, I'll do a regular Q&A, if you all have interest. It'll be weekly during the football season and twice a month the rest of the year. To submit questions, email me at abeasley@miamiherald.com.

That being said, I've heard a lot of feedback about the fee story that ran about a month back. Let's set the record straight on a few things. First off, an editor and I came up with the story idea as a way to localize a USA Today piece on the widespread use of athletic fees to prop up low-revenue programs. What the data showed was that FIU not only was part of the trend, but it the most reliant on said subsidies, even compared to similar schools. Furthermore, we learned that the athletic budget has increased by more than 50 percent over the previous five years, even though the school as a whole went through significant cuts to academic programs and staff. So yes, it isn't a new phenomenon that fee money was going to the program, but the last we wrote about the issue was during the boom years. We felt that some present-day perspective was needed. Last point: the story was written back in February, before I was moved to the FIU beat, but held because of space issues in the Sunday paper. I understand the timing of when it ran might seem more than coincidental, but I assure you all it was not.

April 15, 2010

More Dazzlers -- SI Cheerleaders of the Week; Pizza, Pizza Bowl

 Dazztwins Michelle and Alex are the latest Golden Dazzlers to be honored as Sports Illustrated's Cheerleaders of the Week on si.com this week.

Click HERE for the twin sisters SI photo gallery.

The ladies follow in the tradition of Dazzler captain Vanessa, (right) who was named SI Cheerleader of the Week last October.

In case you missed Vanessa's SI photo gallery on the GPP last October, clickVanessa HERE


The Sun Belt Conference secured a secondary tie-in with the Little Caesers Pizza Bowl in Detroit.

A third bowl-eligible Sun Belt team would be the first alternate should the Big Ten not have a bowl-eligible team.The Pizza Bowl, which used to be known as the Motor City Bowl, features a Big Ten team vs. a MAC team and is played at Ford Field, home of the Detroit Lions.

The agreement starts with this coming season and runs until 2013. With the Pizza Bowl, the SBC now has 3 bowl tie-ins.

Pizza The Sun Belt champ goes to the New Orleans Bowl and the second bowl-eligible SBC team goes to the GMAC Bowl or they could flip flop as SBC champ Troy did last season so that they could play a "home" game in the GMAC in Alabama while Middle Tennessee went to Bourbon Street. All 3 bowl games are on ESPN.


Speaking of Bourbon Street, the Panthers (19-14) have a huge 3-game series against New Orleans at home this weekend.

FIU played against Bethune Cookman on Wednesday night like it was Fat Tuesday the day before the game. The Panthers showed no energy, scored just 3 runs (when they average 8.2 runs per game) and allowed 5 runs after 2 were out in the decisive 3rd inning.

The Privateers -- playing in their final season in the Sun Belt before dropping down to Division III this July --Ja arrive at FIU with a SBC worst 2-13 record.

But like our old friend Joaquin Andujar reminded us when an undemanned FIU closed out the crosstown series against the Coral Gables school with a win (below right, Ryan Mollica, Jorge Castillo and the rest of the Panthers, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) in 2008 --  "You can sum up baseball in 1 word: youneverknow"

UNO came to Miami last season and scored 25 runs to take 2 out of 3 games from FIU.Fiubase

FIU is 6th in the conference with a 6-6 mark, but have 4 other teams right behind them within 3 games or less. Top 8 teams make the SBC tourney in late May.

The Panthers pitchers are little banged up with ace Scott Rembisz having to leave last week's start against Middle Tennessee with shoulder and forearm tightness. He is expected back on the hill Friday night.

April 14, 2010


Bcu A Wednesday mid-week game for the Panthers before New Orleans comes to FIU for a SunLogo Belt series this weekend.

Bethune Cookman (19-14) is here and they always seem to give FIU (19-13) trouble. The Panthers are coming off dropping 2 of 3 games at Middle Tennessee last weekend. Getting ready for the first pitch here shortly, time to go LIVE blogging.

April 13, 2010

Let's Get It Started

Well hello there, Golden Panthers fans. As you have likely heard, I'm Adam Beasley, the new FIU print reporter for your Miami Herald. I'll also be weighing in on this blog from time to time, adding to the strong work by Pete.

Tryout You've already gotten my credentials, but let me tell you a little more about myself. From up north, but have lived all over the country. Went to Syracuse, so I know what it takes to put together a dominant basketball program. Spent four years working for the Baltimore Ravens, so I've seen football at the highest level up close. And grew up loving the Phillies, so baseball is in my blood. Oh yeah, I also can’t get enough of the beautiful game – or having fun at my own expense – as this ridiculous picture attests.

In addition to energetically covering the Golden Panthers on a daily basis, I hope to give a fresh perspective on the issues facing the athletic program as it tries to grow into a national power. Some of you already have seen my work on the Kendall Berry murder and the athletic fee story. It's just a taste of what's to come.

I'd love to get to know you all better, so feel free to shoot me an email at abeasley@miamiherald.com or say hello at FIU games. In the end, sports are supposed to be fun, so let's have a good time together.

April 12, 2010

Rounding 2nd Heading for 3rd

We're a little past the midway point of the FIU baseball season and the Panthers are 19-13 and 6-6 in the Sun Belt. About what you expected or not? Vote in the poll question at the end of this post.

FIU has 22 games left and currently sits 6th in the conference out of 11 teams. Top 8 teams earn a trip to Murfreesboro, Tennessee for the Sun Belt Championship Tournament on May 25. The Panthers have 18 conference games left.

Rj As FIU prepares for a Wednesday home game vs. Bethune-Cookman (6 p.m. first pitch; 5:54 p.m. LIVE BLOG begins), let's take a look at the first half of the 2010 season with some thoughts from FIU coach Turtle Thomas.


If you follow baseball at any level, then you know it all begins with pitching and FIU's hurlers have had their moments this season, but enough of them.

As of Monday, the Panthers are fifth in the Sun Belt with a (5.70 ERA) which is not anything to write home about. FIU pitchers do have the second most Ks (256) in the conference, but also have issued the fifth most walks with 124.

We knew it would be a challenge this season for FIU to get consistent pitching with the losses of Tom Ebert and Miguel Mejia to the Red Sox and Tigers, respectively. JUCO Pitcher of the Year Logan Dodds being ineligible. But nothing the Panthers can do anything about that.

No. 1 starter Scott Rembisz has pretty much been solid all season with the exception of last week vs. Middle Tennessee when he had to leave early with shoulder and forearm tightness. SR has never had those issues before, but he is expected to be on the hill this Friday vs. New Orleans.

Despite being just 1-2, R.J. Fondon (above, left, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) has the lowest ERA on the team at 3.99 and probably has been the most consistent pitcher on the team.

You can see the potential sophomore Aaron Arboleya (right, thanks AJH photo) has with each start, but he has yet to put it togetherAa in a string of starts. AA has definitely improved from last season where he was a middle of the week/relief pitcher to earning a spot in the weekend rotation.

Daniel DeSimone has developed nicely with effective mid-week starts and has become an innings-eater.

Until closer Bryam Garcia hurt his elbow, he was pretty much lights out as the 9th inning guy. TT said he expects Garcia back before the end of the regular season. Eric Berkowitz has probably been the most efffective reliever thus far.

TT's take: "We've been a little inconsistent with our pitching. Teams that sweep series on a regular basis and are at the top of our league get three good starting performances each weekend. We've had two most weekends, but never had three. If we can get a little more consistency out of our bullpen that would be good."

Probably the other issue with FIU's pitching besides consistency, has to be the lack of depth.

For 2011, the Panthers will have Illinois transfer Phil Haig, Mike Ellis, Columbus High's Andres Perez-Lobo (one of the top pitchers in Dade County) along with MDC transfer Ricky Perez and Dodds besides the returns of Fondon, Arboleya, DeSimone, etc. And FIU still has some scholies left to hand out which the Panthers are actively pursuing: "We're in the process of signing a couple of more pitchers for 2011. Possibly JUCO guys." Thomas said.


With a lack of pitching depth, the Panthers could help themselves with the gloves, but so far FIU has plenty of room for improvement.

Gw FIU is 10th among 11 SBC teams in fielding this season with a .954 fielding percentage and 58 errors.

There have been some secure gloves around the field for the Panthers such as Garrett Wittels' (left, thanks AJH photo) superb play at the hot corner and how he flawlessly filled in for Junior Arrojo at shortstop when Jr. was out.

Jr. for the most part has been solid at SS. Pablo Bermudez has shown a very dependable glove in center and freshman Jabari Henry has a hose from left field as some opposing runners have found out.

But overall, FIU must tighten up defensively to help out its undermanned pitching staff, especially in Sun Belt play where every team in the conference, including FIU, seems to hit like if it were slow-pitch softball.

TT's take: "Our defense needs to be more consistent and more solid. However, our errors don't seem to be made in the clutch. I don't think it has affected us that much."


How many of you would be surprised if I told you FIU leads the Sun Belt in hitting? My hand is up.

I knew the Panthers could hit, but to lead the offensive-minded Sun Belt? I didn't think so until I looked atMm the numbers.

FIU is No. 1 in hitting with a .347 team average and No. 1 in on-base percentage with a .436 mark.

Although the power numbers (FIU has 32 HR) are down with no Tyler Townsend-type bat in the lineup, the Panthers are averaging 8.2 runs per game, which should be enough for some more wins than the 19 the team has, but we've already gone over that above.

GW leads the team and is third in the Belt with a .417 average. GW also has a 28-game hit streak. Mike Martinez (right, thanks AJH photo) is second on the team and fifth in the conference with a .408 batting clip. MM also has a mighty .490 on-base percentage.

Freshman Jabari Henry (left, thanks AJH photo), who is looking like he will develop into Townsend-type bat, leads the team with 8 HR and 38 RBI.

Jh FIU can run having stolen 50 of 63 bases. Bermudez leads the team with 13 swipes and Jr. is right behind with 12 steals. The 50 steals are fourth in the Sun Belt.

One area where the Panthers could improve on is being more consistent driving in runs. For example, the 16 runners left on base against Louisiana on April 3 which wasted a nifty start by Fondon. FIU sweeps that series if they win that game.

TT's take: "They've done a nice job. In baseball, everybody runs into slumps, funks. We've had some pretty good consistent guys. We probably could knock in more runs. Middle Tennessee does a good job of knocking in runs. We were very impatient last Saturday against Middle Tennessee."

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