By Mike Cugno

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The time has come for college baseball and softball to move into the postseason and one South Florida team is causing quite a stir.

The softball team from Florida International University is having the best season in school history.

The Golden Panthers won a school record 45 games this season and were selected as an at-large entrant for just the third time in FIU history.

They are heading to the regional playoffs in Gainesville and will face Oklahoma State on Friday at noon.

“We’re expecting to win,” said FIU manager Gator Rebhan. “Oklahoma State is a great team so that’s the first game we have to worry about.”

Also in the Gainesville Regional are the top-ranked Florida Gators and Florida A&M.

“We score runs,” Rebhan said. “We have a good hitting team and our defense is top five in the country so that always helps out.”

Controlling the mound is freshman pitcher Shannon Saile, who went 19-9 as a starter this season.

“Well I can’t do it without my team,” Saile said with a smile. “It’s pretty cool to come in as a freshman and play with the big kids.”

One of the Golden Panthers’ big hitters is Stephanie Texeira, who enters the postseason boasting an impressive .381 batting average.

She clobbered 15 home runs and plated 52 RBIs.

“In practice I try to aim for the second fence,” Texeira said, pointing to a fence that was beyond the outfield wall. “I just try to aim for the fences in practice and know that in a game it comes naturally.”

The regional playoff is double elimination.

FIU’s game on Friday against Oklahoma State will be nationally televised on ESPNU.


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