LAKELAND - Florida Southern continued its season-long seven game homestand here Wednesday evening by weathering an hour long delay for lightning en route to posting a 9-3 non-conference victory over Winona State at historic Henley Field.
The Moccasins led 8-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth inning when a thunderstorm that continued lightning and a brief heavy downpour pushed across the Lakeland area and forced an hour delay of the game.
When the game resumed about 8:30 p.m., the Mocs added a run to its lead in the bottom of the fifth and then used solid pitching from its bullpen to hold off the Warriors and improve to 9-8 on the season and extend its win streak to two straight games.
The Warriors, who fell to 1-8 on the season with the loss, jumped in front 1-0 in the top of the first inning as they took advantage of two hits, a Moccasin error and wild pitch by sophomore pitcher A.J. Smith (Merritt Island, Fla.) to score the first run of the game.
FSC, though, would answer in the bottom of the first inning with a run of its own thanks to a lead off triple from senior leftfielder Kyle Richards (Groton, Conn.) and a sacrifice fly off the bat of junior centerfielder Sam Machonis (Tampa, Fla.) to tie the game.
The Mocs pushed its lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the second inning on a lead off solo home run by redshirt junior designated hitter Blake Swann (Live Oak, Fla.) off of WSU starting pitcher Hayden Krimmer. The homer by Swann was his third of the season and the 16th of the season for the Mocs.
FSC would push its lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the third inning thanks to back-to-back singles from junior rightfielder Jhalan Jackson (Winter Haven, Fla.) and Swann and then used a walk and on the walk to junior shortstop Shawn Sanders (Citra, Fla.), WSU catcher Nathan Krause lost track of the count and threw down to second trying to throw out Swann, when Jackson stole home for the game's third run.
In the fourth, the Mocs gave Smith some added insurance runs as they recorded four hits and took advantage of two Warrior errors to plate five runs and take an 8-1 lead. Senior shortstop Casey Eddinger (Crawfordville, Fla.) led off with a double to left center and would score on the next play as Richards reached on an error by WSU second baseman Andrew Geislinger. Senior third baseman Chris Dennis (Rockledge, Fla.) drove home the next run on his one-out double to left center and Dennis would score the next run on an RBI single by Jackson and Jackson would score a little later on a wild pitch from Krimmer (0-2). FSC would score its fifth run in the inning on a double steal as sophomore first baseman Jason Sierra (Sarasota, Fla.) would steal second and Swann would steal home.
Smith, who won his team leading third game of the season in Wednesday's victory as he is now 3-0 on the season, was the winner as he went a predetermined four innings and allowed three hits and one unearned run, while walking one and striking out one.
In the fifth inning, senior reliever Austin Barnett (Lakeland, Fla.) allowed just a lead-off single to Krause, before retiring the next two Warrior hitters in order, inclduing inducing Geislinger to ground into a double play to end the inning right before the lightning struck.
FSC's lead grew to 9-1 in the bottom of the fifth inning thanks to two walks and an RBI single by Jackson.
Jackson had a big night as the plate in the win as he went 4-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs to raise his season batting average up 29 points to .448 on the year. He entered the game hitting .419 on the season.
WSU had a scoring opportunity in the sixth inning as they loaded the bases with one out thanks to a hit batsman and two walks issued by junior hurler Jason Carmichael (Cape Coral, Fla.), who made his regular season debut on Wednesday. Carmichael, though, would battle out of the bases loaded jam by striking out Mitchell Heid and forcing Kipp Youngquist to ground into an inning-ending fielder's choice.
The Warriors would find the scoreboard again in the seventh against Moccasin junior reliever Stephen Brooks (Glen Allen, Va.). In the inning, WSU had one hit and scored its run on a wild pitch by Brooks.
WSU would pull within 9-3 in eighth inning thanks to two walks issued by freshman reliever Sam Atwell (Ocala, Fla.) and two singles, the latter single being a run scoring one off the bat of Geislinger.
Atwell would retire the Warriors in order in the ninth to seal the Mocs win.
In addition to Jackson's four hits, the Mocs, who recorded 12 hits in the game, also got a 3-for-5 night at the plate from Swann and a 2-for-4 night from Dennis.
Krause had three of his team's seven hits, while Geislinger added two hits in the loss.
Krimmer (0-1) took the loss on the mound for the Warriors as he pitched 3.1 innings and allowed 10 hits, eight runs, six earned, while walking four and striking out three.
On the night, both teams left a combined 23 runners on base as WSU stranded 12 and the Mocs left 11 runners on the base for the game.
FSC's four pitchers that threw following Smith's four innings combined to allow just four hits and two runs, while striking out five and walking six.
The Mocs will continue the long homestand this coming weekend as they host top-ranked Tampa in a three-game series to open up Sunshine State Conference play. The teams will open the series on Friday, March 13 with a single game beginning at 6 p.m. and will conclude the series with a doubleheader (two nine inning games) on Saturday, March 14 beginning at 1 p.m.
Prior to Friday's game, the Moccasins will recognize its NCAA Division II National Championship teams from 1975, 1985, 1995 and 2005 as part of Homecoming weekend.