Fall Report: FIU

Fall Report

MIAMI — The FIU Panthers, led by ace pitcher Logan Allen, power-hitting catcher Jose Garcia and two speedy table-setters in Derek Cartaya and Jarrett Ford, are hoping they are just a few months away from their first NCAA regional since 2015.

Florida International, which hasn’t had a winning season since 2017, is led by fourth-year coach Mervyl Melendez, whose Panthers went 23-32 last season, sparking a coaching shakeup.

Dax Norris, the former hitting coach for Alabama, is back to that role for FIU. A former catcher, Norris spent the past three years as FIU’s pitching coach, a job he had also held at Alabama.

Clearly, Norris is a versatile coach.

“Whatever I can do to help the kids get better,” Norris said. “But I think the energy of our hitters suits me.”

With Norris moving over to mentor the hitters, Melendez hired Willie Collazo as his new pitching coach. Melendez said Collazo – a former FIU and pro pitcher – has already made an impact on the Panthers.

“I think our starting pitching, in particular, will be strong and get us deep into games,” Melendez said. “I like the attacking mindset Willie has instilled in them.” …

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