The Dolphins preparing for a very important conference weekend series against the Lipscomb Bison sent senior Drew Woods (Jacksonville, Fla./Wallace CC) to the hill against the FIU Panthers in game one of a two game midweek series.
Freshman Nate Ricci (Madison, Wis./LaFollette) led off the top half of the third with a line drive homerun over the right field wall to put the Dolphins up 1-0. The homerun was Ricci’s second of the 2013 campaign.
The Panthers answered with single runs in the bottom of the third and fourth innings to take a 2-1 lead after four innings.
In the top half of the fifth inning Ricci delivered again. The left-hander ripped his second solo blast of the evening into the nature preserve beyond the right centerfield fence to knot the game at 2-2.
The Dolphins added a pair of runs on three straight doubles in the top half of the seventh. Ethan Loosen (Uniondale, N.Y./FSCJ) reached on a one out double and Garrett Ruckel (Jacksonville, Fla./Stanton College Prep) followed with a double into the right field corner to make it 3-2. Ricci then just missed his third homerun of the night bouncing a double off the left field wall scoring Ruckle easily from second for his third RBI of the night to make 4-2.
The Panthers clawed back in the bottom half of the eighth adding a run on a one out triple and a wild pitch to cut the lead to 4-3.
The Dolphins added insurance in the top of the ninth. Loosen led off with a walk and advanced on a bunt single by Ruckel. The hot hitting Ricci then laced a single to right scoring Loosen for his fourth RBI of the ninth. Zachary Houck (Orange Park, Fla./Eagles View Academy) then singled scoring Ruckel. Drew Luther (Fullerton, Calif./Fullerton College) then followed with and RBI groundout. Nathan Koslowski (Jacksonville, Fla./Episcopal) then laced a single up the middle scoring Houck and making it 8-3 Dolphins.
That is all that Adam Maxon (Oviedo, Fla./Oviedo) would need. The right- hander pitched two scoreless innings on the night to earn his fifth save of the season.
The two homeruns in a game by Ricci were the first by a Dolphin since Adam Brett Walker had a pair on April 5, 2012 against the Stetson Hatters.
Woods (1-3) finished the day going seven innings allowing three runs on four hits while striking out five in the winning effort.
The Dolphins and the Panthers will be back in action Wednesday afternoon at 3pm from FIU Stadium. All of the action can be followed live at www.judolphins.com