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Panthers Take on FAU in Final Regular Season Series
          Release: 05/16/2012
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Thurs. Probables - 6:30 p.m. ET

Fri. Probables - 6:30 p.m. ET Sat. Probables - 1:00 p.m. ET

FIU - RHP Eddy Pidermann 

FIU - RHP Michael Ellis 

FIU - LHP R.J. Fondon

8-2, 3.75 ERA, 60.0 IP, 47 K 

3-2, 3.47 ERA, 70.0 IP, 73 K 

 6-6, 5.32 ERA, 67.2 IP, 56 K 




FAU- RHP Ryan Garton 

FAU - RHP Kevin Alexander 

FAU - LHP Austin Gomber

8-3, 3.29 ERA, 79.1 IP, 77 K 

5-1, 2.66 ERA, 47.1 IP, 35 K 

 3-4, 3.90 ERA, 55.1 IP, 56 K 

Setting the Scene
Location: Boca Raton, Fla. ι Weather
Field: FAU Stadium (2,000)
Television: N/A
Live Video Streaming: N/A
Live Blog: The Prowl - (Pete Pelegrin)
Live Stats:
Twitter: @FIUBaseball
FIU Head Coach Turtle Thomas: 161-135-1 (5th Season at FIU)
FAU Head Coach John McCormack: 128-95 (4th Season at FAU)

SBC Tournament Scenario
With their 16-5 run-rule win at Arkansas State Sunday, the Panthers clinched a berth in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament next Wednesday, May 23 in Bowling Green, Kentucky.

The top eight teams make the SBC Tournament. At 11-16 each, WKU and Louisiana are currently on the outside looking in at the conference tournament. However, both the Hilltoppers and Ragin' Cajuns are just one game back of UALR, ULM and Troy with three conference games remaining for each Sun Belt team.

Even with a sweep of the Owls this week, FIU cannot win the Sun Belt's regular season title because FAU would finish with a better conference win percentage than FIU and still claim the SBC regular season crown.

The best that FIU can finish in the Sun Belt standings is second and get the No. 2 seed in the tournament, which along with the No. 5, 7 and 8 seeds, has the most beneficial schedule at the SBC Tournament.

You see the No. 2, 5, 7 and 8 seeds do not play games on three straight days in the pool play round of the SBC Tournament. Each one of those four seeds has an off-day in between games at the tournament. The No. 1, 3, 4 and 6 seeds play games on three consecutive days which can tax a team's pitching staff.

Now for FIU to get that No. 2 seed, the Panthers have to sweep the Owls -- a tough task considering FAU took out the brooms on FIU back in mid-March here in Miami -- and Arkansas State has to lose two of three games to UALR. Should these two scenarios not happen, then the Panthers are looking at being seeded anywhere from No. 3 to No. 7. 

The only Sun Belt team FIU has not beaten this year is FAU. The Panthers have won series from every other Sun Belt team, except UALR and South Alabama, who each took two of three games from FIU.

Bermudez National and SBC Hitter of the Week for May 14
Pablo Bermudez had a monster week hitting .588 (10-17) with a pair of homers and 11 runs scored.  He also contributed seven RBI out of the leadoff spot, which contributed to FIU scoring 48 runs over a four-game road trip that produced three victories. He was NCBWA and National Hitter of the Week, as well as Sun Belt Player of the Week and College Baseball HOF National All-Star Lineup.

It's Good to be the (Hit) King
With a single in the first inning against Middle Tennessee (5/5/12), senior Mike Martinez passed Bryan Pullin (288 career hits) as FIU's all-time hit king. He currently has 296 hits heading into the final weekend of the regular season with Pablo Bermudez on his heels with 287 hits.  

AVG? Anything But!
Senior Mike Martinez is quietly putting together an impressive season. Going into the final weekend of the regular season, Martinez is first in the Sun Belt and 29th in the country with a .388 batting average. Logan Pierce of Troy is a distant second with a .360 average.

Stop! Gomez Time
FIU junior closer Michael Gomez has been selected as one of 45 players named to the NCBWA Midseason Stopper of the Year list. Gomez leads the Sun Belt with 13 saves and is four shy of tying the FIU record for saves in a season held by Ozzie Lugo (17 saves in 2000). His 13 saves also rank ninth in the NCAA. He's also tied for fourth on the career FIU saves list.

Triple the Fun
Junior Nathan Burns is ranked first in the nation with nine triples on the year. He currently sits tied for fifth on the all-time FIU triples list and is four shy of tying the single-season FIU record. 

Just Win Baby!
With eight wins, sophomore Eddy Pidermann is ranked 29th in the country.
Run Pablo Run!
Senior OF Pablo Bermudez recently broke the FIU record for most career runs. He surpassed Dennis Diaz and has over 200 runs scored and counting.

OH! Henry
For the week ending on April 8, 2012, junior outfielder Jabari Henry was named Collegiate Baseball News "Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week", College Baseball 360 Primetime Performer as well as Sun Belt Player of the Week. Against Florida A&M and Troy, Henry was 9-for-20 (.450) with four home runs, 13 RBI and seven runs scored. In his last 10 games, Henry is hitting .462 with six home runs and 23 RBI.

Bermudez up for Lowe's Senior CLASS Award
Senior Pablo Bermudez has been selected as one of the 30 finalists for the 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award. The award is given to the NCAA Division I baseball player that excels on and off the field, and honors those with notable achievements of character, classroom, competition and community. He is the only Sun Belt player on the list.

Young Pups get PT
In a blow-out win against Florida A&M (4/3/12), three seldom used Panthers had opportunities to shine. Catcher Ryne Morozowski went 1-for-1 with an RBI in his first-career FIU at bat while RHP Dylan Benedict pitched a scoreless ninth inning with two K's. Shortstop Jeremy Bajdaun went 0-1 in that game but singled as a starter the next day for his first-career FIU hit.

Broken Record
On March 18 against FAU, senior Mike Martinez broke former FIU slugger Tyler Townsend's career RBI record with a late inning solo home run. The record-breaking RBI was the 165th of Martinez' career. When he finishes his career at FIU, he will be at the top of most of FIU's offensive career categories along with fellow senior Pablo Bermudez. Martinez is already the FIU career leader in total bases.

Gone Fishing
On March 7, the Panthers took on the Miami Marlins in front of 20,000 people in its first-ever exhibition game against an MLB team. FIU lost 5-1 to the Marlins but everyone was all smiles after leaving the beautiful new Marlins Park. Freshman Roche Woodard doubled off Ricky Nolasco for the first hit off the Marlins as junior T.J. Shantz drove in the first run and freshman Julius Gaines scored a run and stole a base. FIU turned an impressive five double plays, doubling up Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Reyes on separate occasions. Senior Christian Malbrough struck out two Marlins in the game.

In a March 4 win against Brown, junior Nathan Burns was featured as the No. 8 play on ESPN's Top-10 Plays of the Week after making a running catch in right field and flipping over the fence while holding on to the ball for the out. This was the second-straight season an FIU outfielder was featured on ESPN Top-10 Plays of the Week as former Panthers and current Chicago White Sox farm hand Yoandy Barroso made the list last season on a home-run robbing catch.

Beantown Bashers
The Panthers scored 14 runs in a 14-6 win over a Boston College team that held the Boston Red Sox to only six runs a few days before. Texas JUCO transfers Nathan Burns and Adam Kirsch each had monster games going a combined 5-for-8 with two runs and eight RBI. Kirsch added his second home run of the year -- a grand slam in the first inning. Tyler James Shantz had FIU's first four-hit game of the year while Julius Gaines added three hits and two RBI.  In their last three meetings, the Panthers and the Eagles accounted for a total of 68 runs.

Upset City
The Panthers win over then No. 8 FSU (2/24) was a memorable one. It was the first win for the Panthers over the 'Noles in 22 years. The last time FIU defeated Florida State was on May 2, 1990, and the last win over FSU in Tallahassee came on Feb. 21 of the same year. The last time the Panthers defeated a top-10 opponent was in 2008 when FIU took down top-ranked Miami in Coral Gables in Turtle Thomas's first season as head coach.

Hit Parade
The Panthers out-hit the Seminoles 26-19 in their three-game series on February 24-26.
Cha Cha Cha to
During an almost three-hour rain delay against Rice (2/17) the FIU baseball team passed the time with its own rendition of the popular dance, the Cha Cha Slide. The video went viral and was featured on SI's Extra Mustard with Hot Clicks Sports Video of the Day. The video currently has over 23,000 views.

Oh Captain, My Captain
As voted on by their teammates before the season, senior outfielder Pablo Bermudez and senior relief pitcher D.J. Swatscheno were named team captains for the 2012 season.

Rewriting the FIU Record Books
Seniors Pablo Bermudez and Mike Martinez are in or near the top-5 in eight career statistical categories (see chart on page 4) and project to be first and second in those categories at the end of their illustrious careers.

Always Room for Improvement
In his first four years as skipper of the Panthers, Turtle Thomas has improved on his win total in each season. In 2008 his squad picked up 20 wins and raised that total by 14, an FIU record, in his second season, before improving by two more in 2010. In 2011, Thomas' squad won an impressive 40 games.

Preseason Favorites
The Panthers were picked by the league's head coaches as the co-favorite in the Sun Belt with Troy. Each team earned four first-place votes and a total of 93 points.

Diamonds are Forever
At the recent FIU baseball and softball Diamond Dinner to kick-off the season, the FIU baseball team eclipsed its 2011 total of $150,000 at the programs biggest fundraiser of the year. What was the top auction item of the evening?? An all-inclusive trip to the 2013 Orange Bowl and BCS National Championship game that went for $7,000. Former MLB player and manager "Sweet" Lou Piniella was on hand as the key note speaker and was even caught up in a bidding war with local radio personality Jorge Sedano on a vacation in the Florida Keys.

Panthers Garner Preseason SBC Honors
After being named SBC Player of the Year in 2011, Pablo Bermudez entered the 2012 season as the favorite to win the award once again. Along with Bermudez's preseason POY nod, senior Mike Martinez was named All-SBC 1B, junior Rudy Flores was named All-SBC DH, and junior Mason McVay was named All-SBC RP.
Bermudez Preseason All-American
Senior OF Pablo Bermudez was named a Third-Team Preseason All-American as announced by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers of America (NCBWA), he was also tabbed a reseason Honorable Mention All-American by

Turtle up to His Old Tricks Again
Turtle Thomas, known as one of the best recruiters in the country for nearly two decades, is at it again at FIU. The 2012 class is already gaining notoriety in the baseball community as Perfect Game USA named the class ranked No. 18 (not including JUCO signees) in the country. The pitching-heavy class features 10 arms and six position players. Ten of the signees will come in as freshmen from high school while six are junior college players.

For the Love of the Game
The future is now as two of the Panthers' highly-touted recruits in Aramis Garcia and Julius Gaines take the field in 2012. Garcia, a local product from Pembroke Pines, Fla., was widely considered a top-10 round draft pick out of high school before signing a letter of intent with the Panthers. Garcia's strong commitment to continue his education and attend FIU played a large part in him falling to the St. Louis Cardinals in the 20th round of the 2011 MLB Amateur draft. Gaines comes to FIU from Luella High School in Georgia where he was a Baseball America Preseason High School All-American his senior season. He was drafted in the 32nd round of the 2011 MLB Amateur draft by the Boston Red Sox. Both players passed over signing bonuses of over $250,000 to join the Panthers.

Summer Lovin' Had me a Blast!
Over the summer, outfielder Jabari Henry was named to the Cape Code Summer League All-Star Game and his Harwich Mariners eventually went on to win the league championship.

Coaching Shuffle
After spending the past four years at the University of Alabama, Drew French was hired as FIU baseball's newest pitching coach while assistant coach Frank Damas was promoted to associate head coach and recruiting coordinator.

At the Next Level
Five former Panthers from the 2011 team are now a part of Major League Ball clubs as Jose Behar (Marlins, 30th) and Jeremy Patton (Cardinals, 38th) were drafted and Garrett Wittels (Cardinals), Bryam Garcia (Braves) and Yoandy Barroso (White Sox) were signed as undrafted free agents.


Turtle Thomas wants YOU there this weekend
Turtle Thomas wants YOU there this weekend

Courtesy: Sam Lewis/RIchard Lewis/Alex Hernandez/Roy Viera
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