Mocs Post Shutout Win in First Game of Sunday's Doubleheader at Eckerd
ST. PETERSBURG - Florida Southern used a complete game three-hit shutout from senior Brian Johnson and two runs scored by junior centerfielder Keith Curcio to post a 4-0 victory over Eckerd College in the opener of its doubleheader on Sunday afternoon at the Turley Athletic Complex.
Sunday's doubleheader was originally scheduled for Friday, but rain forced the doubleheader to be postponed and rescheduled for Sunday as Florida Southern could not play on Saturday due to graduation festivities on campus.
Johnson, who improved to 5-3 with the shutout victory, scattered three hits over nine innings, while walking one and striking out four in his 104-pitch outing. After allowing a two-out single in the first to Mike Abraham, the right-hander didn't allow another hit until a two-out single in the seventh by Chris Hanson. During that stretch, Johnson, who is a native of Oldsmar, Fla., retired 17 of the 18 batters he faced as he walked Matt MaMahon to lead off the third, before retiring him on a 5-4-3 double play one batter later. After that double play, Johnson retired 12 consecutive Triton batters before allowing Hanson's single.
With the win, the 18th-ranked Moccasins improve to 32-16 overall and 14-9 in the SSC, while Eckerd fell to 26-22 overall and 10-13 in the league.
The Mocs jumped out in front in the first game of the doubleheader as they put its first three hitters on base thanks to two walks and an infield single by Curcio, who is native of Sarasota, Fla. With the bases loaded, junior third baseman Chris Dennis (Rockledge, Fla.) lofted a fly ball to left to score the first run on a sacrifice fly and freshman designated hitter Scottie Withrow (Seminole, Fla.) drove home the second on his RBI single to right off of Eckerd starter Richard Kowlaski.
FSC had a scoring chance in the fifth inning as they put runners on second and third thanks to two singles, a fielder's choice and a stolen base with one out before Triton reliever Nick Hill forced senior first baseman Trey Vavra (Menomonie, Wis.) to foul out to first and Dennis to ground out back to the pitcher to end the threat and leave the runners stranded.
The Mocs loaded the bases in the sixth ininng thanks to a hit, walk, fielder's choice and hit batsman, but Hill prevented any runs to score as got out of the jam by forcing senior second baseman Conor Szczerba (Titusville, Fla.) to fly out to right to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.
FSC would add to its lead in the seventh as they plated two runs thanks to an RBI double by Vavra and a wild pitch from Eckerd releiver Conar Mahon. Vavra's double came one batter after Curcio drew a walk leading off the inning. Vavra would eventually score on a Mahon's wild pitch after moving to third on a fly out to left by redshirt sophomore rightfielder Dominic Brugnoni (St. Clair Shores, Mich.).
The Mocs had another scoring opportunity in the eighth inning as they loaded the bases thanks to a single by junior shortstop Casey Eddinger (Crawfordville, Fla.), a hit batsman and a catcher's interference, before Kyle Harding, who was the second Triton pitcher of the inning, got out of the jam by forcing Vavra to fly out to left.
Curcio, Eddinger and Whitrow led the way for Mocs offense as they two hits apiece.
Eckerd's other hit came in the eighth inning on a pinch-hit single to left center by Grant Bako.
Kowalski (1-5) took the loss for the Tritons as he pitched one inning and allowed two hits and two runs, while walking two and striking out one.
The teams will close the regular season and conclude the doubleheader with a seven inning game, that was scheduled to begin at 3 p.m.