Florida Memorial Stuns No. 7 St. Thomas For 20th Win This Season 

The Battle of Miami Gardens did not disappoint as the Florida Memorial baseball team (20-15) came alive with a dramatic and stunning upset of No. 7 St. Thomas (29-11) Friday to open the three-game series in SUN Conference action in Miami Gardens, Florida.

The Lions baseball team delivered one of the most impressive wins in program history by taking down the nationally ranked Bearcats by a final score of 13-6 competing in the battle of Miami Gardens as both schools’ campuses are nearly two blocks apart.

Right out of the gate, Florida Memorial looked like it would have its hands full coming into the contest with one of the top pitching staffs in the NAIA. The Lions took control of the scoreboard in the top of the first inning plating unearned runs as the Bearcats fielding errors and Alex Gomez and Marlon Cuesta set up run scoring singles in the frame. FMU made it a 5-0 lead. St. Thomas committed two costly miscues and wild pitches sent five Lions across the plate.

FMU would tack on more runs scoring two runs in the second and third innings to increase its lead to 9-2 after St. Thomas scored a run in the bottom of the first inning and added another run in the third inning.

St. Thomas threatened to get back in the game cutting Florida Memorial’s lead to three, scoring runs in the bottom of the fifth with four runners crossing the plate to make it a 9-6 game and forcing Lions head coach Tito Burgos to go to his bullpen.

Florida Memorial put the game out of reach producing five hits that added a run in the seventh, two runs in the eighth, and one in the ninth for the 13-6 win.

What kept the nation’s No. 7 team in the NAIA from scoring more runs in the contest early was a solid relief effort from freshman LHP Isaias Espiritusantos who came into the game in the fourth inning and gave up one hit and striking out a career-high 10 to secure the victory.

The Lions responded with clutch defense to back Espiritusantos. The 10 strikeouts are the season highest. His previous high was eight on April 1 against Thomas University.

At the plate, Jalen Young and Nathan Harris had three hits each. Young went 3-for-5 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI while Harris went 4-for-5 with 2 runs scored. Marlon Cuesta was 2-for-4 with 3 runs batted in and a home run, Ulises Rodriguez and Fernando Vila both went 2-for-5 with 2 runs.

The victory over St. Thomas marked the fifth time this season FMU recorded a win over a nationally-ranked opponent in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll which includes current ranking. This past February 1st, the Lions captured a 9-6 win over No. 8 Keiser to open the 2022 season, on February 18th they won two of three over No. 15 Warner University, and on February 25th, a 5-0 win over No. 18 Webber International. The wins were all on the road.


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