Wednesday, February 16, 2011

On Deck - Lions vs Florida International


SLU Lions (0-0, 0-0) vs. Florida International Panthers (0-0, 0-0)
FIU Baseball Stadium, Miami, FL
Game 1:  6:00 PM (cst) Friday Feb 18
Game 2:  Noon (cst) Saturday Feb 19
Game 3:  6:30 PM (cst) Sunday Feb 20
TV:  Fri & Sat  Sun ESPNU

What to Watch For

The Southeastern Lions, coming off of a 40-19 (most wins in school history) 2010 season, will face 2010 regional participant and Sun Belt Conference tournament champion Florida International Panthers in a nationally televised weekend series.

SLU's pitching staff, that returns 2 of their 3 weekend starters from 2010 in Brandon Efferson and Tyler Watkins, vs FIU's Big Five in Garrett Wittels (.412/2/60), Jabari Henry (.311/12/51), Jeremy Patton (.364/8/45), Mike Martinez (.375/9/55) and Yoandy Barroso (.377/4/25).  The SLU staff finished 2010 with a 4.29 ERA and held opponents to a .281 BA, which both ranked 2nd in the SLC.

Just in case you didn't know FIU's Garrett Wittels is currently on a 56 game hitting streak dating back to the 2010 season.  Wittels needs a hit in each game of the series to break former Oklahoma State and MLB All-Star Robin Ventura's 58 game hit streak record from 1987.

Lions senior OF Cass Hargis needs to cross the dish twice to become the school's All-Time leader in runs scored.  Ty Summerlin is the current leader with 176 runs scored.

Joe Sparacino (12) and Justin Boudreaux (9) are on hitting streaks of their own dating back to last year.

How will the Lions respond to opening the season on the road?  SLU last opened the season on the road in 2007, however they only had to make the bus trip across Lake Pontchartrain to face Tulane.  The Lions won that series 2-1.

Liking the Sunshine State:  The last time the Lions traveled to the state of Florida they opened the 2006 season (Jay Artigues' first) at Stetson and won the series 2-1.

In his five years as the Lions skipper Jay Artigues is 12-3 on opening weekend and is 4-1 in opening weekend series beating Stetson, Tulane, and Eastern Illinois (2).  His only series loss was to Eastern Illinois in 2009.

Under Jay Artigues the Lions are 6-9 against Sun Belt Conference schools.  During the last two seasons they are 6-2.

Be on the lookout for Lion newcomers junior IF Jonathan Pace, junior C Jacob Fisher, junior RHP Joseph Koon, and freshmen 1B/OF Britt Gautreaux.

Louisiana Connection:  FIU head coach Turtle Thomas was an assistant coach under Skip Bertman at LSU from 2000-2006.   Also LHP Justin Cromartie (Mandeville) and RHP Christian Malbrough (Bourg) both hail from Louisiana.

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