Last week, FIU baseball coach Turtle Thomas likened his team to a football team that couldn't stop anybody when their offense is clicking, couldn't score when the defense is clicking or special teams failed badly enough to upend the whole mix. To use Thomas' metaphor, Thursday and Friday, FIU couldn't stop the early bombing, then coulnd't stop FAU in the two-minute drill.
And it could cost FIU the No. 3 seed in the Sun Belt Conference tournament.
Friday, reliever Michael Gomez took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the ninth and left with a 4-3 loss that gave FAU the Sun Belt regular season title. The collapse wasted a fine start by Mike Ellis, which was an improvement on Thursday. Eddy Pidermann got pummeled for six runs in the first inning of a 12-2 blowout.
Statistical oddity: Oscar Aguirre came into this series with zero home runs on the season. He has two solo shots in the first two games.
The two losses leave FIU at 15-14 in Sun Belt play, the same as South Alabama, which took two of three from FIU up there this season. FIU ends the regular season this afternoon at FAU hours before South Alabama hosts Troy in its regular season closer.
So Old Dominion joins Conference USA, putting the league at 14 members. My first thought was "Oh, cool, Cindy Russo and Inge Nissen coaching against their alma mater twice a year now!" Russo and Nissen played for ODU back when it ruled the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women and the NCAA barely acknowleged women's sports. (young fans or participants in women's sports who want a historical perspective where we are now versus where we used to be should check out Sports Illustrated's recent issue on the 40th anniversary of Title IX and the story that discusses the AIAW).
It also means one more school FIU should own in football for a while. ODU just restarted its program in 2009 and will go FBS (Division I in any other sports' language) in 2015.
Senior outfielder Ashley McClain got named to the All-South Second Team by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association. McClain, a First Team All-South honree in 2010 and 2011, is the first FIU player to be All-South three times.