MIAMI, Fla. - Charleston Southern was unable to hold off a late-inning rally by host Florida International on Friday night as the Buccaneers fell in game two of the three-game weekend series at the FIU Baseball Stadium, 15-8.
FIU (9-6) broke open an 8-8 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning with a seven-run rally capped by a two-run home run off the bat of Zach Files as the Panthers clinched the series win over the Bucs (8-4).
Chris Singleton led the CSU offense on the evening with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate with three runs scored. He added his first triple of the season and team-leading seventh stolen base in the contest.
Chandler Raiden (2-0) picked up the win in relief for the Panthers going the final 1.1 innings to close out the win. CSU reliever Cody Smith (1-1) suffered the loss for the Bucs with FIU doing most of the damage against him in the eighth inning rally.
CSU pieced together four hits in the top of the first to push three runs across in building the early lead. Mike Sconzo was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded for the first CSU run, while Aaron Miller and Adam Andrew both had RBI singles to give the Bucs the 3-0 lead.
Brandon Gragilla and Miller added two more to the Bucs' lead in the second with Gragilla connecting on a RBI single scoring Chris Singleton, while Miller drove in Jason Miller to stake the Bucs to the 5-0 lead.
FIU responded with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the frame taking advantage of a CSU two-out error to narrow the Bucs' lead. Kenny Meimerstorf scored on the CSU error, while Adam Sevario connected on a RBI single two batters later to cut the margin to 5-2 after two innings.
Irving Lopez led off the bottom of the third with a solo home run for FIU and Sevario connected on another RBI single in the fourth to pull the Panthers within one.
Aaron Miller extended the CSU lead with the freshman first baseman reaching on an error and then making his way around the base paths on three wild pitches to put the Bucs ahead 6-4 in the fifth.
Singleton connected on a lead-off triple in the sixth inning for the Bucs and came around to score on Jason Miller's sacrifice fly to put CSU ahead 7-4.
The Panthers responded with four runs in the bottom of the sixth to take the lead. Zack Soria led off the inning with a solo home run. Maw retired the next two batters on strikes, but FIU rallied with Lopez connecting on a two-run double and then coming around to score on Javier Valdes' RBI single to give the Panthers the 8-7 lead.
FIU retook the lead in the bottom half of the frame with a seven-run two-out rally capped by a two-run home run by Zach Files to hold the 15-8 advantage heading into the ninth.
The Bucs went down in order in their final at-bats to close out the contest.
Tomorrow's Probable Starters
RHP Nik Constantakos (1-0, 2.12 ERA) is expected to toe the rubber for the Bucs on Saturday afternoon. LHP Dominic LoBrutto (1-0, 2.65 ERA) is expected to draw the start for FIU.
First pitch between CSU and FIU is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday at the FIU Baseball Stadium.