LAKELAND – Pablo Cabrera collected five hits and drove in four runs as Florida Southern took a twin-bill from Florida Tech, 5-3 and 5-4, to complete a Sunshine State Conference series sweep of the Panthers here Saturday at Henley Field. Florida Southern has now won six in a row.
In the opening game, Florida Southern grabbed a 1-0 lead in the fifth on a single by Frost and a RBI-double by Carbera.
FSC sophomore lefthander Logan Browning kept Florida Tech scoreless through five innings before having to leave in the top of the six after being charged with a walk to the lead-off batter, John Sternagel. The Panthers then plated three runs without the benefit a hit. Sternagel stole back-to-back bases and Grant McKown was hit with a pitch while Daniel Szpik drew a walk to load the bases. A sacrifice fly, a wild pitch, and another sacrifice fly gave Florida Tech a 3-1 lead.
The Moccasins rallied for three runs in the bottom of the seventh, scoring all three with two outs. Evan Barnes started the rally with a double in the right field corner. Cabrera then singled in Barnes to pull the Mocs within one, 3-2. Pinch hitter Scottie Withrow singled through the left side of the infield Sam Machonis drilled a double to right center field to drive in Cabrera and Withrow to give the lead to Florida Southern 4-3.
Florida Tech appeared to tie the game at 4-all in the eighth as Sternagel was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and moved to third on a single by McKown. Szpik then flew out to left field with Sternagel scoring on the play, but the Panther runner was called out for leaving the base too soon.
Tyler Knowles tossed two hitless innings in relief and allowed a pair of runs, but picks up his first win of the season for the Moccasins while Craig Savage tossed two shutout innings for his first save save.
Game two was a see-saw battle. Florida Southern (14-6 and 3-3 in the SSC) struck first as Mitch Reeves singled and moved to second on a wild pitch. He then advanced to third on a fly ball to right field before finally scoring on another wild pitch.
Florida Tech (15-9, 2-4) tied the game in the top of the fifth as Eric Molina homered to lead off the frame and then took a 3-1 lead in the sixth on two-run double by Molina.
The Moccasins snapped the tie in the bottom of the eighth as Sierra led off with a single and was sacrificed to second. Logan, pinch-hitting, the drew a walk and was replaced with pinch-runner J.P.. DeBoyer. Both runners advanced on a gound out to first while pinch-hitter Walker Burgess walked to load the bases. Cabrera then capped his outstanding day with a two-run single to center field.
Mitch McCarthy, who came on in the sixth inning in relief of starter Moccasin starter Cameron Hanes, worked the final 3-1/3 innings to get the win after limiting the Panthers to one hit. McCarthy got some defensive help as Frost made a nice diving catch for the second out of the ninth inning.
Florida Southern returns to action on Tuesday with a 6 p.m. non-conference home game against Eckerd College at Henley Field.