Tag Archive for: FIU Panthers

Summer Ball bridges the gap to CJ Dearman’s next opportunity

CJ Dearman was supposed to have his senior day at Florida International University.

He was supposed to take the mound one last time at FIU Baseball Stadium in May, strike someone out, and ride off into the sunset, possibly on a bus somewhere in the minor leagues.

Instead, the pitcher’s senior season was cut off shortly due to the COVID-19 viral outbreak. Now, Dearman’s senior day will have to come next year at St. Thomas University in Miami.

“Originally I was planning on just graduating from FIU with my bachelors,” Dearman said. “However with the epidemic going on and me being gifted another year to play, I definitely wanted to take advantage. Also. St Thomas was willing to give me an opportunity to attend grad school and play on a very good team. Two of my best friends from FIU are also going with me so it just seemed like an ideal choice.”

CJ Dearman at FIU

Dearman was primarily a relief pitcher at FIU, posting a 3.41 ERA in 24 career appearances with one save and 15 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched. At the South Florida Collegiate Baseball League, he is a starting pitcher for the Pompano Beach Clippers. He’s posted a 1.68 ERA in three starts with 12 strikeouts in 10.2 innings.

One interesting component of the summer league is taking on former teammates. A handful of Dearman’s FIU teammates are in the SFCBL but none of them play for the Clippers. Dearman’s introduction to the 2020 SFCBL season was versus a former teammate. He took on West Boca Snappers’ second baseman Derek Cartaya, who has a .305 career bating average in four years at FIU.

“To play against my former teammates is an absolute blast,” Dearman said. “It makes you bring the best out of yourself because no one wants to lose to their friend. We look forward to those games because no matter what. It’s always a lot more fun, especially when you’re striking your friends out.”

As great it is to be one of the few playing baseball at a time where the enigmatic epidemic hangs over the nation like a tropical storm hovers over Florida, Dearman says it doesn’t make up for the lost spring.

“It’s just because it’s not the same,” Dearman said. “Like for summer, I didn’t grind and do those tough 6 a.m. workouts with those guys. So I don’t know what I’m getting into. Also, I don’t get to go to the cool cities around the U.S. when I play summer ball as opposed to when I was at FIU.

“So it doesn’t really make up for it but it does give me that same fun feeling of playing the game I love.”

Another Tough Weekend for Most Miami Sports Fans

Many Miami sports fans approach games with cautious optimism, which often turns to utter hopelessness in a blink.

“Ok, UM has a cake walk against FIU. That should be an easy W let’s get it”.



“The Panthers have won five of six and the offense is rolling, they’ll keep it going in Carolina”.

Wrong again.


We knew the Heat would have a tough one in Philadelphia on the second night of a back-to-back, but a better performance was still expected.

No matter the actual weekly outcome for the Dolphins you can’t win.

If the Dolphins win, their draft position in April suffers.

If the Dolphins lose, you are summarily reminded how far away they truly are.

The biggest disappointment of the weekend by far belongs to the Miami Hurricanes who fell to Butch Davis and the FIU Panthers 30-24 Saturday.

Perhaps it should be overshadowed by the triumph of Davis and his feisty Panthers who clearly wanted the game more.


FIU came out focused and prepared, while the Hurricanes started with their far too common lethargy.

Which quickly turned into a comical attempt at motivating your team that is losing handily to a three touchdown underdog.


It was truly a massive setback for a Hurricanes program that was seeming to turn the corner.


For the Miami Heat, their loss at Philadelphia is not overly concerning.

What is a bit disconcerting is that the 76ers starting five outscored Miami’s 90-32.

The starting group for the Heat had a plus/minus as follows:

Leonard (-26)

Butler (-31)

Robinson (-26)

Adebayo (-26)

Nunn (-16)

The Heat put themselves out of contention early before finally putting up a fight in the final quarter when the outcome was no longer in doubt.

Philadelphia had four players in double figures led by none other than Josh Richardson with 32 points. Miami’s typically stellar 3-point defense was off, the 76ers hit 14-of-29 (48.3%) from deep.

Fortunately for the Heat this type of game shouldn’t linger long, some home cooking when they host the lowly Hornets Monday should get them right.

The Florida Panthers have been a great story early in the season with exciting, high scoring games being a regular event.

Coming off of three straight wins in which they scored a total of 14 goals, the Cardiac Cats had one of their worst offensive games of the year in a 4-2 loss at Carolina Saturday.

The 23 shots on goal for the Panthers was their second lowest total of the season.

Ironically their season high of 50 was also against Carolina, a 6-2 loss in October.

The goal scoring slump would continue Sunday despite a 45-26 shot advantage for the Panthers in a 5-2 home loss to Buffalo.

Florida has scored two or fewer goals in seven games this season, all losses.

With shaky goaltending again this season, the Panthers’ offense has to carry the burden most nights.

Next, and perhaps least surprising, the Miami Dolphins went into Cleveland and dropped to 2-9 on the season by a final score of 41-24.

The Browns jumped all over the Miami secondary and took a 28-0 lead before the Dolphins responded.

Miami would shrink the deficit to 28-17 before Cleveland would pull away in the fourth quarter.

Jarvis Landry (10 catches, 148 yards, 2 TD) had some extra venom for his former team.


Not surprisingly, Baker Mayfield (24/41, 327 yards, 3 TD, INT) picked apart a depleted Dolphins’ secondary most of the way.

The Dolphins will host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday.

To put a bow on this misery package, the Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball team was bounced from the Charleston Classic Sunday 80-55 against UConn.

The Hurricanes reached the third-place consolation game after losing to Florida 78-58 Friday, meaning Miami was outscored by 45 points in the back-to-back losses.

And with that, another roller coaster weekend for Miami sports fans is in the books.

Follow us on Twitter for all things Miami sports @5ReasonsSports.

Photo courtesy of Tony Capobianco.

FIU finally beats Miami, wins the city

The Florida International Panthers beating the Miami Hurricanes 30-24 may go down as the biggest upset in Miami sports history.

It was fitting that the game took place at the site of the Orange Bowl and FIU was led by the same head coach that built arguably the great college football team in history in Miami before leaving for the NFL in 2001.

“We did everything we can, when everybody says you can’t,” FIU coach Butch Davis said. “To be [three]-touchdown underdogs … if you believe that you can, then you can.”

This was like the greasers beating the socials for the soul of the city. The private school with the proud legacy fell to the public upstart with none. One school has five national championships and plays in a NFL stadium. The other school’s stadium has a seating capacity of 20,000 and can barely fill it.

FIU has four times the amount of students as UM, which is usually the case when it comes to comparing public and private schools. The college football system puts down half of the conferences and makes those teams disqualified from competing for the national championship. FIU fans have no hope of their team making it to the playoffs. UM fans expect it every season.

Like their students, the players grew up wanting to put on the orange and green before calling FIU their home. Yet despite the Hurricanes being the school that invented swagger, it was the Panthers who brought it to the field.

“That used to be our dream school,” said FIU kicker Jorge Borregales, who converted 3-of-3 field goals — two of them from 50 yards or more. “Everybody knew Miami. Beating them today, it’s like, yeah, we’re here.”

“We wasn’t even calling them the University of Miami during the week,” FIU linebacker Sage Lewis said. “We were calling them the University of Coral Gables. We’re the true Miami school. We have more students internationally. We did it for the university and really for the world.”

FIU set the tone of the game through defense. An interception by Stantley Thomas-Oliver III set up a field goal by Borregales giving the Panthers a 3-0 lead.

Morgan threw nine passes once he got the ball back, moving the chains the capping it off with a 29-yard touchdown pass to Shemar Thornton to go up 10-0.

The Hurricane’s next two drives ended on turnover on downs and the Panthers closed out the first half with a 50 yard field goal. The Panthers then started the second half with Davis intercepting Hurricanes quarterback Jarren Williams. Jamal Gates also got into the action with a pick of his own in the third quarter.

A field goal by Camden Price finally got the Hurricanes on the board with a 16-3 deficit going into the fourth quarter.

A touchdown pass from Morgan to Tony Gaiter IV extended the Panthers lead to 23-3 early in the fourth quarter. Gaiter celebrated his score with a member of the FIU Army ROTC.

The Hurricanes offense finally got clicking with three touchdowns in the game’s final 11 minutes. a 14-yard touchdown run by Cam’Ron Harris and 35-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Mark Pope put Miami within six points.

A touchdown run by FIU running back Anthony Jones put FIU out of reach with a 30-17 lead with 2:17 left in the game. The Hurricanes responded with a touchdown pass from Williams to Dee Wiggins but the onside kick attempt failed and the Panthers went into victory formation.

Manny Diaz is in his first year as head coach after three years as the defensive coordinator called the loss to FIU, “One of the darkest nights in this program’s history.” His Hurricanes are 0-3 after coming out of a bye week.

“We’ve got to do a lot better job getting our guys prepared for this kind of game,” Diaz said.

Diaz has heard the criticism from the fan base after starting the season 0-2 and not winning games in blowout fashion agains opponents that they don’t find to be in their level. Three straight wins quieted the fury and even had them thinking Orange Bowl but now it’s back and worse than ever.

“The noise is deserved,” Diaz said. “We need to get this fixed.”

Miami was never meant to have a rivalry with the likes of FIU and even Florida Atlantic. The first time UM and FIU played resulted in an infamous brawl that severed ties for a decade. The Hurricanes closed out the Orange Bowl in embarrassing fashion, losing 48–0 to Virginia in 2008. The old but iconic stadium was demolished to make way for Marlins Park but the Canes’ first game back on the sacred soil might have come with a much more sour taste.

As for FIU, this win might lead to more of its student fans feelIng confident in their football team and lend more support. Under Butch Davis, the Panthers are going to their third straight bowl game for the first time in program history. This may not be the only time the Panthers will be capable of beating the Hurricanes and that’s what must have Hurricane fans worried, especially the ones who didn’t go to FIU.

“I think it’s a rivalry after tonight,” Jones said.