Lions rout FNU en route to a series sweep

Lions rout FNU en route to series sweep graphic.
Lions rout FNU en route to a series sweep. (March 2, 2024)

(Box Score)

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (March 2, 2024) – Florida National University’s baseball team (6-11) allowed seven runs in the bottom of the eighth to lose 14-6 to the Florida Memorial University Lions (7-4). FMU completed a four-game sweep versus Florida National on the diamond of Harry T. Moore Baseball Field on March 2. FNU threw their pitching staff at the Lions, entering eight different pitchers in a futile attempt to keep FMU off balance.

In the first inning, FMU jumped to an early lead with three runs in the bottom of the first. FNU showed early signs of being a step behind fielding the ball, allowing two runners to advance home on a 2-3 swinging strikeout by Alejandro Fernandez. Ulises Rodriguez singled on the last play of the inning as FNU forced him out at second base. Rodriguez’s base running did work in FMU’s favor as Ernie Farrell made it safely home on the same play. 

After a scoreless second frame, Fernandez went to work in the third. He posted an RBI double that scored Pheron Charlton and dangerously placed Farrell on third. Raymond Rivera batted in Farrell after a textbook sacrifice fly up the middle of the field and FMU went on to post one more score courtesy of a Rodriguez single. 

Trailing 6-0, FNU got back in the game thanks to a three-run inning in the fourth highlighted by Jordan Lewis. The centerfielder singled to left field, scoring Eduardo Ponce and Erick Rodriguez. With the bases loaded later in the frame, infielder Matthew Gonzalez was hit by a pitch and brought home Jose Carpena before FMU recorded the final out of the inning on a flyout by Roberto Fernandez

To their credit, the Conquistadors were steadily threatening FMU with a comeback, scoring one run in the next three innings. At that same time, FMU posted just one score in the sixth off a run from Farrell. Rodriguez made it home on a sacrifice fly from Carpena in the fifth and Gino Bellantoni scored on a single from Gonzalez the following frame. Suddenly, FNU was trailing by just one score thanks to an RBI double delivered by Bellantoni in the seventh. 

The bottom of the eighth turned out to be just what the doctor ordered for FMU, as the Lions went on to win the game thanks to six hits and seven scores. Rivera got things started with an RBI single before FMU loaded the bases and had Rivera score on a hit by pitch. 

FMU did a great job of extending the inning, claiming three RBI base hits to go along with another RBI hit by pitch. FNU had three different pitchers on the mound in this frame but simply had no answer for the Lions’ roaring offense. FNU mercifully retired the side on a strikeout delivered by Erik Fuentes before FMU ended the game with a routine shutout inning in the ninth. 

Up Next: FNU will be in Vero Beach, Fla., for a USCAA showdown versus Penn State Greater Allegheny and Penn State Mont Alto March 7.

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