Altuve shines in FNU’s split afternoon at Pepper Park

Altuve shines in FNU's split afternoon at Pepper Park graphic.
Altuve shines in FNU’s split afternoon at Pepper Park. (March 12, 2024)

(Box Score) (Box Score 2)

NORTH MIAMI, Fla. (March 12, 2024) – Florida National University’s baseball team (9-14) recorded another 1-1 afternoon at Claude Pepper Park, facing two top USCAA teams in Mid-Atlantic Christian University and Bryant & Stratton College Albany. FNU exited its series versus MACU with a 3-1 win in game three thanks to an outstanding performance from shortstop Jason Altuve. Despite winning that series 2-1, FNU fell behind in a three-game home stand versus the Bobcats after a 10-4 loss.

In game one, FNU’s starting pitcher Mario Benjamin weathered some earlier adversity with the bases loaded early off two walks and a passed ball. Benjamin went to work, picking up an assisted putout to keep Travis Snell from scoring a run. The veteran righty froze the Mustangs’ next batter as FNU retired the frame on a 4-6 ground out. 

Altuve’s first flash of brilliance came on a leaping lineout in the third inning for FNU’s second out of the frame. MACU was the first to get on the board after RJ Cabrera took a ball to the arm with the bases loaded. Altuve made an impact once again to help retire the side on another circus catch, leading to a solid throw to second base for the final out of the frame. 

The shortstop delivered on offense with an exhilarating homer to left center that scored first baseman Yordangel Gonzalez on his next trip to the mound. FNU’s next score came in the sixth off another homer, this time off the bat of Erick Rodriguez. FNU held a 3-1 lead and  Maylo Sierra took care of things for FNU on the mound through the last two innings, posting two strikeouts en route to the save. 

Despite a solid performance in game one, FNU allowed four runs in the opening frame versus the Bobcats. A two-RBI double from Johan Sandoval and a two-run homer from Enrique Lopez highlighted a frame where BSC had three hits. To their credit, FNU got back in the swing of things at the bottom of the first with homers from Matthew Gonzalez and Roberto Fernandez making it a 4-3 ball game. 

BSC took the lead once again in the second with three runs and three hits, while FNU’s final run of the afternoon would come in the fourth thanks to an RBI single from Jordan Lewis. 

Florida National had eight hits in the loss to the Bobcats nine, and the Conquistadors committed the only two errors in the game. 

Up Next: Conquistador baseball seeks two victories over Bryant & Stratton College Albany tomorrow starting at noon. 

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