Florida Memorial University showed its flair for the dramatic in game one of the day’s doubleheader, narrowly staving off a furious rally attempt by visiting Thomas University (Ga.) before coming away with a 14-12 win then followed that up with a workman like 9-3 victory over the Night Hawks in game two to already secure the weekend series win Friday afternoon at Harry T. Moore Field.
The Lions will host Thomas in the series’ finale Saturday morning.
How It Happened – Game One (FMU 14, TU 12)
- FMU took a 14-5 lead into the top of the ninth inning.
- The Lions opened the inning with five walks and a hit-by-pitch, gifting Thomas three runs.
- TU got RBIs on consecutive at bats to cut Florida Memorial’s lead to 14-10.
- A fielding error by FMU followed by another single brought the Night Hawks within 14-12 with the potential go-ahead run at the plate.
- Lions skipper Florentino Burgos made his third pitching change of the inning, giving the ball to Samuel Briceno.
- It looked as though Thomas was about to – at least – cut into the Lions’ lead again with a shot to center field but senior Rohandry Javier made a diving catch to secure the final out of the game and save FMU’s 14-12 victory.
- Florida Memorial built its early advantage thanks to a 9-run second inning that included three doubles and a three-run home run by Luis Ruiz.
- TU produced three runs in the top of the seventh, getting two from a double down the left field line, to make it an 11-5 game.
- Three Night Hawks defensive breakdowns – a passed ball, a wild pitch, and a fielding error – helped the Lions tack on three runs in the bottom of the seventh to take their 14-5 lead.
How It Happened – Game Two (FMU 9, TU 3)
- After falling into a 2-1 hole through the third inning, FMU took the lead in the bottom of the fourth by producing a pair of runs – one on a Thomas wild pitch and the other on a sacrifice fly by Marlon Cuesta.
- Florida Memorial would never relinquish that lead.
- Fernando Vila put the Lions in complete control with a fifth-inning grand slam over the left field fence, putting FMU ahead 7-2.
- Starting pitcher Max Charnin had a solid outing and reliever Isaias Espiritusantos earned a save.
- Ulises Rodriguez drove in runs in each the sixth and eighth innings to expand FMU’s lead to 9-2.
- Thomas plated an inconsequential run in the top of the ninth before Espiritusantos ended the game with a strikeout.
Inside The Box Score – Game One
- Ruiz was one of three FMU players with three hits, finishing 3-for-4 with a team-high 3 RBI and 2 runs scored.
- Jalen Young went 3-for-5 with 2 runs scored and catcher Luis Velandia went 3-for-5.
- Javier had a game-high 4 runs scored while going 1-for-3.
- Juan Hernandez started and pitched 7.0 innings for the Lions, striking out 6 and giving up just 4 earned runs to earn the win.
- Axel Gomez, Vila, Cuesta, and Young all had doubles in game one.
Inside The Box Score – Game Two
- Javier and Rodriguez tied for the game-high in hits with three each; Rodriguez was 3-for-5 with 2 RBI while Javier finished 3-for-5 with 2 runs scored and one RBI.
- Vila’s grand slam was his only hit of the game.
- Catcher Rafael Ferrara went 2-for-4, with both hits being doubles.
- Charnin ended up throwing 5.0 innings with 7 strikeouts and earned the win.
- Espiritusantos threw 4.0 innings with a game-high 8 strikeouts and earned the save.
- Thomas University had seven total hits compared to 15 for the Lions.
Analysis & Notes
- Vila’s grand slam was his second home run of the season and the team’s first grand slam of the year.
- Espiritusantos’ eight strikeouts set a personal single-game career-high and was the most for any single FMU pitcher in a game this season.
- The 15 strikeouts in game two Friday was the second-most strikeouts in a game this season for the Lions. The high, 16 strikeouts, was set on March 31 against Florida National University.
- The nine runs allowed in the ninth inning of Friday’s first game tied for the second-most allowed in an inning by the Lions this season. They allowed a season-worst 11 runs in an inning to University of South Carolina-Beaufort back in March.
- Jensy Toval returned to the Lions’ batting order as a reserve during Friday’s second game – pinch hitting late and going 0-for-1 in his only appearance – after missing the past three games with an undisclosed injury.
- FMU, which has now won four straight games, improved to 16-15 overall and 6-8 in the Sun Conference.
- Thomas University falls to 15-20 overall and 0-11 in the Sun Conference.