#31 Florida International Baseball 2017 Preview

Florida International Panthers
Overall Rank: #31
Conference Rank: #2 Conference USA
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Florida International had a difficult 2016 campaign, barely staying above .500 by season’s end. The Panthers brought in Coach Mervyl Melendez to help reinvigorate the program and he has already done it with his recruiting. FIU has a superb class coming in this fall, but for now they will rely on their bevy of returning talent to get back to the NCAA Tournament. The future may be bright, but this season should be pretty good too. The pitching staff returns seniors Alex Demchak and Chris Mourelle and junior Andres Nunez. Mourelle had a disappointing junior year compared to his superb sophomore and freshman campaigns. As a freshman Mourelle went 9-3 with a 1.95 ERA. Two years ago he went 7-7 with a 3.07 ERA, while last season he was 6-6 with a 5.07 ERA. If Mourelle can get back to his earlier form, FIU has a outstanding ace to build their rotation around.
2016: 29-28, 15-15
2016 Postseason: None
Coach: Mervyl Melendez
Key Departed Players:
Williams Durruthy, P, 2.81 ERA, 32.0 IP, 35 SO, 9 SV
Cody Crouse, P, 3.50 ERA, 74.2 IP, 49 SO
Rey Perez, .321 BA, 0 HR, 12 RBI
Key Returning Players:
Alex Demchak, P, 2.87 ERA, 47.0 IP, 34 SO
Chris Mourelle, P, 5.07 ERA, 94.0 IP, 59 SO
Andres Nunez, P, 5.37 ERA, 63.2 IP, 45 SO
Irving Lopez, IF, .340 BA, 2 HR, 22 RBI
Nick Day, IF, .318 BA, 10 HR, 31 RBI
Eddie Silva, IF, .297 BA, 2 HR, 29 RBI
Zack Soria, C, .294 BA, 3 HR, 23 RBI
Zach Files, IF, .282 BA, 7 HR, 31 RBI
Kenny Meimerstorf, OF, .282 BA, 5 HR, 28 RBI
Jack Schaaf, OF, .279 BA, 3 HR, 29 RBI
Most of the potent FIU offense is back this year. In 2016 the team ranked second in Conference USA in hits and third in batting average. That success at the plate should continue this year. Nick Day, who hit .318 with 10 homeruns and 31 RBIs is the team’s main power threat. Zach Files and Kenny Meimerstorf can hit for power as well. With this balanced offense, Florida International should be able to improve their record from last season and reach the NCAA Tournament. If the pitching comes around, the Panthers have the talent to do a lot more than just make the tournament, they can compete for a Conference USA title with teams like Rice and Florida Atlantic and potentially make a nice run in the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Baseball Tournament


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