Exhibition Preview: FIU Panthers vs. Miami Marlins


The Philadelphia Phillies will tell you that every game counts, and you can’t take a day off on the diamond, regardless of the quality or experience of the club sitting in the opposite club house.

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Today marks the first live game action the Miami Marlins will see in Spring Training, and from here on out it’s baseball (almost) every day for the rest of the year until late October.

The Miami Marlins host Florida International University at 1:05pm at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter. It marks the first of two warmup games against college kids for the Marlins before they open their Grapefruit League schedule on Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Brad Hand gets the ball for the Fish, and the always difficult “TBA” takes the mound for the Panthers. Mike Redmond‘s lineup is the one the team hopes to have on Opening Day and if everyone can stay healthy, should be cable to catapult the Marlins into the playoffs this year.

Per Juan C. Rodriguez:

1. Jordany Valdespin, RF
2. Kenny Wilson, CF
3. Derek Dietrich, 3B
4. Justin Bour, 1B
5. Cole Gillespie, LF
6. Donovan Solano, 2B
7. Don Kelly, DH
8. Reid Brignac, SS
9. Jhonatan Solano, C

OK, so it’s a lineup featuring exclusively minor leaguers and potential bench players, but it’s still live baseball. The college kids have the advantage of using their aluminum bats in the game, so we could see some offense from both squads this afternoon. Edit: Apparently they used wooden bats after all. These two teams faced off last February to kick off Spring Training, with the Marlins winning, 9-5.

The Marlins are hoping to avoid a scenario similar to what occurred in Clearwater yesterday, when the Phillies were downed by Division II University of Tampa. The Phillies roster was basically nothing but minor league guys — not unlike what the Marlins will field today — but it’s still never a good look for a major league team to lose to a college. Tampa’s game-winning dagger was provided by a grand slam from Giovanny Alfonzo, who last year transferred from FSU (Go Noles!)

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