The second of two games with Florida Memorial, a replacement punching bag when Alcorn State pulled out of a pair of games originally scheduled for Mar. 11 and 12, turned out to be about as troublesome for the baseball team as fundraising is for the athletic department. But it made for drama that would've entertained a good many more than the 97 -- yes, I counted at peak -- folks been unable to resist the allure of baseball, "Angels in the Outfield" and a Miley Cyrus ticket raffle at FIU Baseball Stadium.
Afterwards, FIU coach Turtle Thomas threw all credit to FMU pitcher Eduardo Delgado. Early in the game, an FIU fan said he recognized the pitcher and "he's a good little pitcher. He'll give us trouble."
Junior L.K. Thompson said he cracked his two-run single off "a knuckleball or a splitter."
"It wasn't that we were swinging at bad pitches," Thompson said. "We were hitting them hard. We were hitting some right at people. They weren't really falling in. The right fielder had a few good plays. We had two line drives for sure that I remember in the infield right at people that could've been big runs for us."
I asked junior Aramis Garcia, who scored the winning run after his 10th inning single extended his hitting streak to 15 games, what Delgado had working.
"Just the fastball, slider, changeup. Nothing special. I don't know if we underestimated this team or we just didn't come out ready to play," Garcia said. "I think it was probably more we didn't come out ready to play."
Understandable, somewhat. FIU's just finished getting Teofilo Stevenson-ed by Rice over three rounds in a ranked team matchup of Who's Bigger in C-USA and a three-game set coming up against Marshall. The Panthers gangsta-slapped Florida Memorial 23-1 three weeks ago, leaving FMC looking like an easy sandwich game. But there was nearly strychnine in this sandwich.
Garcia acknowledged the first game might've been a factor.
"This is one of those games where we're glad we got the win, we've just got to focus on Marshall now," he said.
When I asked Garcia if he thought at all about his hitting streak on the line in the 10th inning, he said, "What hitting streak?" At first, I thought he was just trying to make the point that he ignores such individual things after a team accomplishment, like a win.
Then, I realized the legitimate blankness on his face. He really didn't know he had a 15-game hititng streak working.
As information overloaded as everyone can be these days, that's more amazing than the hitting streak itself.
SWIMMING & DIVING
Up in the piece of America where Gophers rule and icing is bad unless you're under serious defensive zone pressure, senior Sonia Perez Arau and junior Johanna Gustafsdottir will start the NCAA women's swimming championships Thursday. Both will be in the 200 individual medley and 200 backstroke, each of which Gustafsdottir holds the FIU school record. Backstroke queen Gustafsdottir also is in the 100 back while FIU distance queen Perez's third event is her best, the 400 IM, which she won conference titles as a junior and senior with meet record swims.
Softball coach Jake Schumann remains one win from 400 career wins. He'll likely get it during this weekend's three-game set at UAB. He went into last week's threesome at McNeese State on 399. FIU lost the first two games, then the third got rained out.