FIU Baseball will play 33 home games as part of its 56-game 2017 schedule under first-year Panthers coach Mervyl Melendez. Including the in-state road games, the Panthers will play 42 of their 56 games in Florida. Part of the in-state schedule features the renewal of a crosstown rivalry with the University of Miami.
FIU opens the 2017 season with an eight-game home stand and won’t leave Florida until late March. Opening Day is February 17 when FIU hosts Jacksonville State at 7 p.m. at the FIU ballpark. The Panthers and Gamecocks play a three-game series, Feb. 17-19.
The season-opening home stand continues with the first of four 2017 games against Miami. The Panthers and Hurricanes play the first of four games at FIU on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m. The series continues March 7 in Coral Gables with a 6 p.m. first pitch. FIU hosts UM again the next night, Mar. 8 at 7 p.m. The Panthers and Hurricanes conclude the season series, April 26 in Coral Gables at 6 p.m.
The Panthers and Hurricanes four-game season series marks the first time since 1996 that the teams play four games in a season and where each team hosts two games.
“Our early schedule is designed to both challenge our team and get us ready for Conference USA play,” Melendez said. “We are excited about our home schedule. Our fans will be able to watch us play very good opponents including the University of Miami for the first time at home since 2008.”
Kent State wraps up the season-opening home stand when the Golden Flashes visit FIU for a four-game series, Feb. 24-26, including a Saturday doubleheader (Feb. 25). FIU will play two doubleheaders in 2017. The other twinbill happens Saturday, March 4 against Manhattan. The Panthers and Jaspers play a four-game series (Mar. 3-5) at the FIU ballpark.
FIU’s first road game is at South Florida, Feb. 28 in Tampa. It’s the first of two games against the Bulls. USF visits FIU on May 9.
The Panthers begin Conference USA play when Charlotte comes to town on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17 for a three-game series (Mar. 17-19). The following weekend FIU takes a trip to Houston to play its first conference road series. The Panthers take on perennial C-USA stalwart Rice (Mar. 24-26).
Perhaps FIU’s toughest road stretch begins April 4 in Mississippi when the Panthers play a two-game set at Mississippi State (Apr. 4-5) and then visit defending C-USA champion Southern Miss for three games (Apr. 7-9).
The Panthers finish April with three games at Florida Atlantic (Apr. 28-30). In April, FIU plays 12 of 18 games on the road.
In May, the last month of the regular season, FIU plays seven of 11 games at home. The Panthers host Western Kentucky (May 18-20) to conclude the regular season.
The Conference USA tournament is the following week in Biloxi, Mississippi.