WINTER PARK, FL - Trailing 3-1 and down to their last strike, Florida Southern rallied for four runs with two outs in the top of the ninth to erase a 3-1 deficit and sweep a series from Rollins with a 5-3 victory over the Tars in the Sunshine State Conference series finale here Sunday at the Harold Alfond Stadium. Logan Browning hit an infield single to score two runs and tie the game while Hayden Marze followed with his 15th home run of the season as the third-ranked Moccasins win their seventh straight game to improve to 29-4-1 overall and 12-3 in the SSC. Rollins, which has now lost nine straight, drops to 16-17 and 4-11.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Rollins struck first off FSC start J.J. Niekro as Nick Brown led off the bottom of the second with a double to right center and later scored on a single up the middle by Brian Brooker. One out later, Brooker was picked off first by a snap throw from Florida Southern catcher Austin Mauer.
- The Tars added a second run in the fifth as Brennan Brundage hit a two-out ground rule double to left center field and then scored on a double by the next batter, Cameron Meehan.
- Florida Southern finally got on the board in the top of the seventh as Mauer bounced one up the middle for a lead-off single. He then stole second and moved to third on a groundout by Browning. Rollins starter Brad Case then uncorked a wild pitch allowing Mauer to score. Marze then singled to left field and moved to second when the ball got by the left fielder but was thrown out at third after oversliding the bag.
- The Tars got the run back in the bottom of the frame with a two-out home run by Isaiah Russell off Florida Southern reliever J.T. Hintzen (8-0) who entered the game to start the sixth inning to increase the Tars lead to 3-1.
- Florida Southern's ninth-inning outburst started with two out and two strikeouts on Mauer who drilled a ball down the third base line that got under the glove of the Rollins third baseman, allowing Marze to reach second base. Omar Villaman then singled to left field, advancing Mauer to third, and chasing Case from the game. Reliever Whit Drennan came on to face Browning who bounced a ball over the 6'7" Drennan that didn't leave the infield as Mauer and Villaman raced home to tie the game. Marze then worked a 3-0 count on Drennan who was lifted during the at-bat for Caleb Jakes. Marze greeted the third Tars pitcher in as many batters by hitting his 15th homer of the season to center field for the 5-3 Florida Southern lead.
- Moccasin closer Leo Rodriguez came on to work the ninth in relief of Hintzen and tossed a 1-2-3 frame to pick up his sixth save.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- This was the 224th meeting between these two storied programs. Florida Southern leads the overall series 150-74 including a 66-46 lead in games played in Winter Park. This is the 18th win for the Moccasins in the last 24 meetings in the series.
- Browning finished 2-for-4 on the day to run his hit streak to 12 games. He has now reached base safely in 22 consecutive games.
- Pablo Cabrera, Browning, and Marze all had two hits as the Moccasins outhit the Tars 9-8. Florida Southern's 3-6 hitters combined to go 7-15 with five runs scored and four RBI.
- Marze's 15 homers tie him with five other Moccasins for fourth place on the FSC single-season list. Next on the list are Justin Hancock (2002) and Ryan McHugh (1995) who both hit 16 homers to rank third, and Mitch Reeves, who had 17 homers last season, who is in second place. The Moccasin record is 20 set by Jhalan Jackson in 2015.
- Niekro struck out five in his five-inning start and held the Tars to two runs, despite surrendering seven hits. Hintzen punched out four Rollins batters and walked none in three innings while Rodriguez had one strikeout.
- This was the first save for Rodriguez since Feb. 17 who saved the first five games of the season, but thanks to Moccasins' offensive success, has not entered the game in a save situation since that date. His six saves tie him with five others for eighth place on the single-season saves list at Florida. The six saves also ties him 10th most in any Moccasin career.
- Florida Southern returns to Henley Field to host Florida Tech in an SSC series on Friday through Sunday, April 13-15.