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SBC Tourney Stretch Run Begins Friday

Last home series of the season for FIU this weekend against South Alabama. The Panthers are tied for 6th in the Sun Belt with Western Kentucky at 13-11 with Florida Atlantic leading the standings at 19-8.Rj

First and sixth place are separated in the standings by just 3 games in the loss column. Louisiana and South Alabama also have 8 losses. FAU, UL and SA have all clinched spots in the SBC Tournament.

Troy is 8th in the SBC with a 12-12 record. Top 8 teams go to Murfreesboro for the conference tournament in 2 weeks.

UALR is hanging around at 7-15 in 9th. The Panthers can clinch a berth in the SBC tourney this weekend. FIU's magic number is 3. Any combination of three FIU wins or UALR losses has the Panthers packing their bags for Tennessee.

Of course, FIU can still shoot for the top of the conference standings with these final 6 games of the season against the top 2 teams in FAU and SA.

It all starts Friday at home against the Jaguars with R.J. Fondon (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) on the mound. South Alabama is second in hitting in the SBC right behind FIU. The Panthers are hitting a conference-leading .332 and the Jaguars are hitting .323.

SA does have a 6.12 team ERA which is in the bottom part of the SBC. But as has been the case all season, FIU will go as far as its pitching takes them.

Apaw Will LIVE BLOG all 3 games of the FIU/SA series this weekend right here on the GPP. First pitch of Friday's game is at 7 p.m. Friday's LIVE BLOG begins at 6:56 p.m.

Throw in your 2 cents where FIU finishes the season in the SBC standings and vote in the poll below.

Fiu PANTHER PAWSE

Apaw Nothing new yet to tell you about guard Deshaun Wiggins and where he may end up. Checking on DW and some other possible recruits.

Q&A

Miri: Pete, there was a report on Sunday night about a kid from Brito who is supposed to be the next ARod. Apparently, he is supposed to be coming to FIU. Any more info on him?

PP: That would be Manny Machado (left), who is rated the No. 1 high school position player in the nation. MM along with Kellin Deglan -- the No. 1 player in Canada -- both signed with FIU for the 2011 season. Mm Unfortunately, MM most likely will never wear an FIU uniform, because he is expected to be a very high draft pick in this June's Major League Draft. And even if he does not go in the top 10, the Boston Red Sox have guaranteed him top 10 money if he were to fall to the BoSox at No. 20. There is a better chance that you'll see Deglan in an FIU uni next season.

Gooch7: PETE: I know I have asked this in the past but I wanted to know if by ANY chance you have heard ANYTHING regarding the construction of the Soccer/Track stadium?

PP: I have not heard anything new regarding the soccer/track stadium.

c-UM: Does FIU softball have a chance at making a regional?

PP: Checked into that and the ladies chances are slim for an at-large bid.

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