LAKELAND – No. 16 Florida Southern dropped both games of the series-opening doubleheader against No. 13 Mount Olive 16-7 and 13-5 on Saturday at Henley Field.
To open the first home series of the year for the Moccasins (3-5), the games were more of an offensive showcase than an actual game with the teams combining for 41 runs and 55 hits. The Mocs offense was powered by the left-handed bat of senior second baseman Chris Dennis (Rockledge, Fla.) who went 5-for-9 on the day, and went 4-for-5 in game one with three doubles, three runs scored, and 2 RBIs. Dennis was joined by junior Sam Machonis (Tampa, Fla.) who also recorded four hits in game one.
The advantage that Mount Olive (7-1) had over FSC throughout the day was its ability to score runs in bunches. The Trojans batted around three times in the doubleheader, scoring six runs each time (4th and 6th innings of game one, 2nd inning of game two).
In game one, Florida Southern fell into an early 2-0 hole after a two-out, bases-loaded single to left field and a throwing error. From there, the Mocs junior starter Brady Arenson (Glenview, Ill.) would settle in and retire eight consecutive batters before running into trouble in the fourth. It would not be until the bottom of the sixth until FSC would push across its first run of the game, which came in the form of an RBI single by redshirt junior first baseman Blake Swann (Live Oak, Fla.) that brought in Dennis who led off with a double to right that just missed leaving the yard.
Mount Olive would answer back with one more, but the Mocs resiliency did not diminish as they would put up two runs of their own in the home half. The first run for FSC came on Dennis's second double of the game which drove in senior left fielder Kyle Richards (Groton, Conn.) who got things started with a one-out single through the right side. Swann would bring Dennis in again from second with another single. In the eighth inning, junior right fielder Jhalan Jackson led off with a double to center, and would score on a one-out sacrifice fly by sophomore pinch hitter Jason Sierra (Sarasota, Fla.). FSC would tack on its final two runs of the game in the ninth. A one-out infield single by junior shortstop Shawn Sanders (Citra, Fla.) set up Dennis to earn his second RBI of the game as he drilled a double the other way down the line in left. Machonis also needed the final frame to record his fourth hit which brought in Dennis.
Similarly to game one, the Trojans got themselves out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning, but were able to tack on six runs of insurance in the second rather than wait around until the fourth like in the first game.
The Mocs would scratch across their first run of game two in the fourth on a double by Jackson down the left field line. His double would score Machonis, who reached on a fielder's choice after Swann was hit by a pitch. Richards would add two more the following inning with a two-run homer to left. Jackson would repeat that feat the following inning, only his went out to right field.
The series will conclude tomorrow at Henley Field with opening pitch scheduled for 1 p.m.