Buccaneers make first road trip of the 2017 season with weekend series at Florida International

Buccaneers make first road trip of the 2017 season with weekend series at Florida International

CHARLESTON, S.C. - Charleston Southern makes its first road trip of the 2017 season this weekend as the Buccaneers travel to the FIU Baseball Stadium and Florida International University for a three-game series starting with a Thursday night contest with first pitch set for 7 p.m. Friday's contest will also start at 7 p.m., while Saturday's finale is slated for a 1 p.m. start time.

Live Stats for the weekend series will be available at FIUSports.com. Thursday and Friday night's contests will be carried live on the Conference USA's premium network package. Live updates will be available on CSU's Twitter feed: @CSUGameDay

Charleston Southern Weekend Notes at Florida International

Probable Pitching Matchups – Charleston Southern at FIU
Thursday: RHP Evan Nations (0-0, 5.62 ERA) vs. RHP Chris Mourelle (1-1, 4.20 ERA)
Friday: LHP Cody Maw (1-0, 2.35 ERA) vs. LHP Andrew George (1-1, 3.75 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Nik Constantakos (1-0, 2.12 ERA) vs. LHP Dominic LoBrutto (1-0, 2.65 ERA) 

Leading Off

  • Charleston Southern is 8-2 after the first three weeks of play at home as the Buccaneers won series over Delaware State, VCU, and Hofstra. The Bucs also took their midweek contest against USC Upstate.
  • CSU is off to its best start since the 2014 season when the Bucs also started the season with an 8-2 record. CSU posted a 30-26 record overall in 2014 and posted a CSU school record for wins against Division I opponents on the year.
  • The road trip against Florida International begins an extended span away from the Ballpark for the Bucs with nine of the next 10 games away from Charleston. The Bucs will face off against FIU (Mar. 10-12), North Greenville (Mar. 14), Longwood (Mar. 17-19), USC Upstate (Mar. 21), and South Carolina (Mar. 22).
  • Overall, CSU will host 19 more games at the Ballpark with home series against Liberty, Gardner-Webb, Radford, Presbyterian and Air Force still to come.
  • FIU is the first Conference USA member the Bucs have faced member since the 2013 season when CSU fell in a midweek matchup at Old Dominion.
  • Charleston Southern entered into the national rankings this week with the Buccaneers receiving votes in both the NCBWA and the USA Today. The Bucs are the lone Big South team to be receiving votes in the polls at this point of the season.
  • CSU is 0-2 on Friday nights at the Ballpark in the 2017 season. CSU is 8-0 on all other dates this season. The Bucs' series against FIU will feature evening games on Thursday and Friday, while Saturday is slated for a 1 p.m. first pitch.

About the Panthers
Florida International was picked sixth overall in the Conference USA baseball preseason poll announced ahead of the season. The Panthers finished in a tie in the poll with Charlotte and did not place anyone on the preseason All-CUSA team. FIU is coming off of a season that included a 29-29 overall record, 15-15 record in conference play.

Buccaneers against FIU
Charleston Southern as a program has a 1-10 record all-time against Florida International.

Last Out for FIU
Florida International is in the midst of a series against Miami (Fla.) at the time of this release with the Panthers taking the first contest against the Hurricanes on Tuesday night. FIU is 6-6 on the season with wins in each of its past four contests including three straight against Manhattan this past weekend. FIU has posted a 5-6 record at home this season with wins over Jacksonville State and Kent State, as well as the trio of wins over Manhattan.

Scouting the Panthers
Irving Lopez leads the FIU offense on the season with a .386 batting average. He has posted a team-high 17 hits and 12 RBI as well as 10 runs scored on the year. Zach Files and JC Escarra have provided the Panthers' power from the plate with a team-high two home runs on the season. Javier Valdes has been one of FIU's primary run providers with 11 RBI on the season. On the mound, Chris Mourelle (4.20 ERA) and Dominic LoBrutto (2.65) have been among FIU's leaders in the 201 season. LoBrutto has posted a 15:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the season, while Mourelle has posted a 14:4 ratio on the season.

Maw paces CSU to weekend sweep over Hofstra
Cody Maw recorded the longest outing of the season by a CSU pitcher with his 7.2 inning performance in the start in the evening game of Saturday's doubleheader. He also currently possesses the longest relief outing for CSU on the year with a 5.0 inning relief appearance in CSU's season opener against Delaware State. CSU's sweep over Hofstra was Bucs' first series sweep since the UMass series in the 2016 season when the Bucs took all three contests against the Minutemen on March 5-6. Coincidentally, the first two games of that series were also a doubleheader played on March 5 at Joe Riley Park.

Bucs against the Conference USA
It's been nearly four years since CSU's last matchup against a team from Conference USA as the Buccaneers take on FIU this week. The Bucs' last contest against a C-USA team came back in the 2013 season as Charleston Southern traveled to Old Dominion back on March 26. The Bucs lost the contest, 4-3, against ODU with the Monarchs rallying with three runs in the bottom of the ninth in taking the win.

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