A ninth-inning rally by the FIU baseball team came up short as the Panthers fell to the Ole Miss Rebels 11-9 Friday evening at the FIU Baseball Stadium. The two teams combined for 20 runs and 31 hits.
Freshman Edwin Rios continued to swing a hot stick for the Panthers going 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBI. Junior Josh Anderson (1 for 5), senior Nathan Burns (2 for 4) and sophomore Aramis Garcia (3 for 5) also homered in the game.
Junior Mike Ellis (1-1) suffered the loss for the Panthers while Bobby Wahl (3-0) picked up the win for Ole Miss.
After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the first, the Panthers answered right away when Rios singled home Julius Gaines with no outs in the first. Gaines led off the game with a single up the middle before Zach Sweety walked and Rios drove in his 12th run of the season.
The Rebels picked up three in the second to take a 5-1 lead before FIU started to chip away at the Ole Miss advantage. FIU made it a 5-3 score when Gaines drove in Burns on a single and Rios was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Ole Miss then added two more runs in the fourth.
After the Rebels loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth inning, Ellis worked out of the jam by inducing a fly ball to right and then turning a 1-2-3 double play to end the Ole Miss threat.
Rios made it a 7-4 ballgame in the bottom of the fifth with a leadoff home run, his second of the season. Later in the inning, the Panthers loaded the bases with one out but couldn't capitalize as the Ole Miss shortstop made a great play in the hole to double up the speedy Burns and end the inning.
After Ole Miss added runs in the sixth and eighth innings, the Panthers started to mount a comeback, which started with a three-run bomb by Anderson to cut the Rebels lead to 9-7 in the bottom of the eighth. The Rebels then got two back in the top of the ninth for an 11-7 lead.
Down, but not out, Garcia started the Panthers off with a solo home run in the ninth to cut the Rebels lead to 11-8. Burns then followed with a one-out solo home run of his own off Rebels closer Brett Huber to make the score 11-9 Ole Miss.
The Panthers will return to the diamond today for game two of the series. First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. ET.