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3 Days Til Opening Night

A few more intrasquad tidbits to pass along as the Panthers prepare for their baseball season opener against Maryland on Friday at 7 p.m. at FIU.

Here are some highlights from 3 innings of a recent intrasquad game.

1st Inning

Junior right-hander Daniel DeSimone started and after Lammar Guy led off with a bunt single, DD pickedBerm him off at first.

Outside of another single, this one by freshman All-American Mike Martinez to right field, DD escaped his first inning of work unscathed.

The bottom of the first brought the first look at new pitcher/3B Dillon Vitale, a freshman from Punta Gorda. DV made one mistake in his inning when Pablo Bermudez's smooth swing on an outside pitch ended up in the preserve for a solo shot. Bermudez (right, thanks Alex J. Hernandez photo) is part of that emerging Miami Springs to FIU pipeline.

DV walked freshman slugging 1B Rudy Flores, but got new RF Yoandy Barroso to fly out to right to end the inning.

2nd Inning

DeSimone came out for a second inning of work and got touched up for a run by a couple of newcomers.

Catcher Jose Behar, a Miami Dade College transfer, who apparently knows how to hit, fell behind 0-2 in the count. So Behar (left) shortened his stroke and slapped a single up the middle into center. The nice piece of Behar hitting got a "good AB" from coach Turtle Thomas coaching at 3B.

Heralded freshman Jabari Henry, who has a similar smooth swing to Bermudez, went opposite field for a single which moved Behar to 3B.

DD got Michael Vargas to bounce into a DP scoring Behar. Vitale, who also hit, flied out to center to end the inning.

The bottom of the 2nd brought to the mound walk-on senior right-hander Jose Velazquez.

Velazquez, a sidearmer, tried out for the team last fall and made the squad.

Sophomore catcher Doug Joyce singled to right to lead off the inning. I'm noticing a lot of players are catching on to Turtle's preaching of taking an outside pitch to the opposite field. Instead of trying to pull it and hitting a weak grounder to shortstop.

Velazquez got himself into a jam by hitting catcher Sean Reilly with a pitch and walking Raiko Alfonso to load the bases.

But maybe this is why the FIU coaches brought Velazquez back after the tryout. The righty struck out Flores, who by the way looks like a guy who can hit 20 HRs. In fact, with his natural opposite field stroke, Flores reminds a little of Tyler Townsend.

Barroso then grounded out to 3B to end the inning with no runs across. Garrett Wittels, who will play infield and be one of FIU's closers out of the pen, made a nice play on a short hop of Barroso's grounder.

3rd Inning

Eric Berkowitz (right, thanks AJH photo) pitched the top of the 3rd inning and allowed 0 runs after a leadoff single.Berko

Guy reached on an infield single in the 5.5 hole that shortstop Junior Arrojo had no play on. But Guy got caught stealing by Joyce.

EB's inning ended when Arrojo made a nice play on a tough hop off the bat of Martinez.

Andre Vazquez took the mound in the bottom of the third inning.

Bermudez continued his good work at the plate lining an opposite field single to right. He would come around to score when the left-handed hitting Flores laced a single to the opposite field in left center.

Vazquez would get out of the inning allowing just one run.


Aaapaw Will have a Happy Blog Hour 2-for-1 special in LIVE BLOGS this week. Log on to the GPP on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 7:54 p.m. for a LIVE BASKETBALL BLOG of FIU/Hooters basketball when the Hooters from Del Boca Vista Phase 2 visit the Bank for game two of the Pat Riley Classic this season.

Then log on to the GPP the next night, Feb. 19 at 6:56 p.m. for a LIVE BASEBALL BLOG of FIU's season opener against Maryland.

Aaapaw Nothing to that report of Ken Dorsey coming to coach at FIU. If he does come to FIU it won't be for a  coaching position.


SouthPaw: Hey, Pete, can you give us any updates on who FIU is offering preferred walk-on status for Spring camp?

PP: Will know more when we get closer to spring practice. The walk-on program has produced some pretty good players. With last year, defensive lineman Andrew Mattox (Osceola Defensive Player of theRb Year) and before that O'Darris D'Haiti among the more productive walk-ons.

Aaapaw Most of you -- like Ricky Bobby's dad (Reese Bobby) -- believe "if you ain't first, you're last". So most of you believe FIU will finish 1st in the Sun Belt this season with 63% of you voting the Panthers in 1st place on the last poll question.

FIU starts its 54-game regular season schedule on Friday. Vote and tell us how many games the Panthers will win this season?


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