USF (11-5) has started the season off strong and will host their second ranked team in two weeks today.
The Bulls are coming off a weekend series against Northwestern where they took two of three. They won the first game 7-0 and starter Casey Mulholland went eight innings getting eight strikeouts and giving up only three hits. That performance was good enough for Mulholland to be named The American Pitcher of the Week. The Bulls also won the second game 4-2. A huge four-run sixth inning was the difference, with a run being forced in thanks to Vincet Miniet being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Then Nik Alfonso knocked in two more runs with a single to left field, and Kyle Teaf finished the scoring with an RBI double to right field. A 6-4 defeat ended the series for the Bulls on Sunday. Back-to-back hit batters forced in the first run of the four-run seventh inning. A two-run single and a sac fly brought in the other three
The Bulls have outscored opponents 107-51 so far this year which leads the The American, but have struggled defensively though and are currently leading The American in errors with 26. The Bulls are batting .296 as a team and are led by right fielder Daniel Portales (.393) and short stop Kyle Teaf (.377).
FIU (15-1) comes into the game ranked 19th by the Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Poll. The Panthers are batting .329 as a team and are led by third baseman Josh Anderson (.441) and catcher Aramis Garcia (.424). FIU is currently ranked in the Top 10 nationally in runs scored (3rd), scoring (4th), shutouts (2nd), batting average (5th), on-base percentage (4th), hits (6th), and team ERA (5th), hits allowed per nine innings (5th), win-loss percentage (3rd), slugging percentage (9th). The Panthers are also dominating Conference USA statistically- leading 17 statistical categories.
FIU has the edge all-time against the Bulls, with a 15-14 record. The Panthers also won both meetings last year, albeit both in extra innings and by only one run each (5-4 in 11 innings and 4-3 in 10 innings).
Jimmy Herget (2-2) will likely get the start against the Panthers. He is leading the Bulls with a 0.38 ERA through 24 innings pitched so far this year, which is good enough for second in The American. He faced FIU last year and gave up two earned runs off seven hits in five innings. On the other side, Chris Course will likely get the start for the Panthers. He is 3-0 so far this year with a 0.52 ERA through 17.1 innings.
The game will be broadcasted on the radio on 1010 AM. You can also listen free online on the FIU Sports Radio Network here.
Next up for the Bulls they face off against their last non-conference opponent of the year in Rhode Island. The three-game series kicks of Friday at 7 PM at the USF Baseball Stadium. The Saturday game is at 6 PM and the Sunday game at 1 PM.