CLEVELAND, MS – Logan Browning struck out eight batters and scattered seven hits while the Moccasin offense took advantage of five Blazer errors as fourth-seeded Florida Southern defeated No. 5 seed Valdosta State, 6-3, here Thursday in the opening day of the NCAA Division II South Regional Tournament at the Tim & Nancy Harvey Stadium at Dave "Boo" Ferriss Field. With the win, the 35-15 Moccasins advance to take on top-seeded Delta State Friday at 4 pm ET.
HOW IT HAPPENED
Florida Southern took advantage of some wildness by Valdosta State starter Hunter Jones (6-6) to put up a solo run in the first. Jones walked Cody Burgess to lead off the inning and then hit Pablo Cabrera with a pitch. Austin Mauer followed with a sharp single to left field to score Burgess, but Cabrera was thrown out at second after a wide turn. The Mocs then loaded the bases as Omar Villaman reached on a fielder's choice with Mauer safe at second on an error while Mitch Reeves walked. However, Jones settled down and struck out next two Moccasins batters to end the frame.
Florida Southern added a pair of unearned runs in the third as Villaman reached on a fielding error by the Blazer third baseman with two outs. Reeves then doubled to right center field with Villaman scoring all the way from first base. Jason Sierra followed with a single to right field to drive in Reeves and give the Moccasins a 3-0 lead.
Christian Maglich led off the bottom of the fourth with his sixth home run of the season, a shot over the left field fence to extend Florida Southern's lead to 4-0.
The Blazers got one run back in the top of the next inning off Browning (8-2) on a lead-off double by Cody Ilgenfritz and a RBI-single by Ryan Slaughter to cut into the Mocs' lead, 4-1.
The Moccasins added an unearned run in the sixth inning as Sierra walked and moved to third when the ball off the bat of Maglich was misplayed for Valdosta State's third error of game. Sierra would score on a wild pitch by reliever Cooper Cain who came off to start the inning for the Blazers.
Valdosta State crept closer in the seventh on a two-run home run by Clint Carr to make the score 5-3 in favor of the Moccasins. Browning recovered to get fly out and back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
Florida Southern tacked on another unearned run in the ninth as Sierra reached on an error and moved to third on the fifth Valdosta State error of the game before scoring on a single by Maglich.
Browning gave way to Tyler Knowles who tossed a scoreless eighth inning before handing the ball over to Cameron Hanes who worked a scoreless ninth to pick up his 11th save of the season. Knowles struck out one and gave up one hit while Hanes whiffed a pair and walked one as Florida Southern pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
This is Florida Southern's 41st appearance in the NCAA postseason and the Moccasins now have a 147-76 record in tournament play.
Florida Southern is 51-20 overall versus Valdosta State, including a 5-3 record in the postseason.
Browning's first inning strikeout of Luke Suchon was the junior lefty's 100th of the season. Browning, who struck out eight tonight to give him a team-high 107 on the season, becomes the 26th pitcher to reach the milestone in Moccasin history and joins Jake Walsh, who reached the mark in his last start on Monday at Saint Leo and now has 103. This marks the first time the Moccasins have had a pair of pitchers with 100 or more punchouts since 1994 when David Harris (155), Brian Dalton (122) and Phil Harris (101) each hit triple digits.
Maglich's lead-off homer in the bottom of the fourth gives the Moccasins 77 homers on the season, breaking the previous school record of 76 set in 1999.
Hanes' 11 saves ties him with James Gelb (1987) for the fourth most saves in FSC history. The 11 saves, which leads the Sunshine State Conference, also ties him with Steve Marchitto (1990-92) for sixth place on the Moccasin all-time career list.
Maglich and Mauer each had two hits to lead the Moccasins while Sierra scored a pair of runs to top the team in that category.
NCAA SOUTH REGION TOURNAMENT HOME PAGE (for live video and live stats)
NCAA DIVISION II BASEBALL
SOUTH REGION TOURNAMENT
(all times Eastern Time)
THURSDAY, MAY 18
GM1 - #3 Nova Southeastern 20, #6 West Alabama 5
GM2 - #2 Tampa 12, #7 Miles 1
GM3 - #4 Florida Southern 6, #5 Valdosta State 3
FRIDAY, MAY 19
GM4 - West Alabama vs Miles – 12:00 pm
GM5 - #1 Delta State vs Florida Southern – 4:00 pm
GM6 - Nova Southeastern vs. Tampa – 8:00 pm
SATURDAY, MAY 20
GM7 - Loser GM5 vs Winner GM4 – 12:00 pm
GM8 - Valdosta State vs Loser GM6 – 4:00 pm
GM9 - Winner GM5 vs. Winner GM6 – 8:00 pm
SUNDAY, MAY 21
GM10 - Winner GM7 vs Winner GM8 – 1:00 pm
GM11 - Winner GM10 vs Loser GM9 – 4:00 pm
MONDAY, MAY 22
GM12 - Winner GM9 vs Winner GM11 – 2:00 pm
GM13 - If Necessary – 5:00 pm