The Panthers will come into the weekend with a 2-2 record after they split last weekend’s series at New Mexico State. All things considered, that’s a solid showing. The Aggies of NMSU are a good program that made it to the NCAA tournament just last season. The also play well at home. To top it off, it’s impressive that Milwaukee played as well as they did when you consider the fact that they probably haven’t been able to practice outside at all this spring.
Given the small sample size, it’s dangerous to read too much into statistics, but the Panthers will come in with some stellar offensive numbers.
As a team, they are hitting .309 and in their four games in Las Cruces, they scored a total of 35 runs. For some teams in this era of BBCOR bats, that’s a solid month of offense.
The biggest offensive star for Milwaukee this past weekend was senior catcher Will Fadness. The Eau Claire, Wisconsin native batted .333 with two home runs and ten RBI on the weekend.
Not to be outdone, outfielder Derek Peake hit .545 and second baseman Michael Porcaro hit an even .500.
It’s not all grip it and rip it on offense for the Panthers, though. They stole seven bases as a team against NMSU, led by two apiece from Peake and table-setter Luke Meeteer.
The pitching for Milwaukee was a bit more uneven, but that’s no surprise. New Mexico State’s Presley Askew Field is a notorious hitter’s haven and the Aggies generally boast high-powered offenses.
Junior lefty Mike Schneider was the best of the bunch against NMSU. All he did in his start was throw eight shutout innings, giving up three hits and three walks with nine strikeouts.
Cale Tassi, the Horizon League’s preseason pitcher of the year, wasn’t bad in his start, either. The senior gave up two earned runs in five innings.
Eric King and Tyler Thicke really struggled, however. Combined, they gave up ten earned runs in 5.1 innings.
Schneider and Tassi are capable of making this series somewhat interesting, but I just don’t think the Panthers are going to have what it takes to keep up.
Miami’s patched together pitching rotation came through in a big way last weekend and their bats, the bigger question coming into the season, have been more than solid. I look for the Hurricanes to sweep.