MELBOURNE, FL - A series of defensive miscues allowed Florida Tech to rally past Florida Southern College baseball, 6-4, in Sunshine State Conference action on Saturday afternoon at Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field. The Moccasins (20-16, 6-11 SSC) lead 4-3 in the sixth inning, but the Panthers (20-15, 9-8) put up two in the bottom of the sixth and another in the eighth to even the three-game series.
Cooper Bradford (1-4) took the tough-luck loss after allowing just two earned runs on five hits in 6.0 innings. He struck out nine batters but fell victim to three errors that allowed three unearned runs to cross the plate. Jake Lane (2-3) picked up the win for Florida Tech by tossing 2.1 scoreless innings in relief, and Ryan Allain picked up his eighth save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
The Mocs and Panthers conclude their three-game series tomorrow at 11 a.m. as Trevor Castell will take the mound for Southern in the rubber match. Sunday's finale was moved up an hour due to a weather forecast that calls for rain in the afternoon.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Florida Southern struck quickly when Ricky Gonzalez drew a leadoff walk in the first inning, advanced to second on Zach Scott's one-out infield single, and came around to score on Jacob Teter's single to left to make it 1-0. The Panthers answered immediately in the bottom half of the inning when the first two batters reached on an error and a hit by pitch.
- The Mocs got the first out on a fielder's choice that put runners on the corners with one away. A stolen base would put both runners in scoring position before Bradford struck out the next hitter, and it looked as if Southern might escape the inning unscathed. However, a throwing error by Pablo Cabrera in the next at-bat cleared the bases and allowed Blaise Maris to reach first to make it 2-1. Bradford walked the next two batters to load the bases but struck out Vincenzo Cantanza to end the inning.
- Florida Tech tacked on another run in the bottom of the third on Raul Quintero's RBI single with two outs to take a 3-1 lead, but the Moccasins got two back in the top of the fourth to make it 3-3. Alan Burnsed was hit by a pitch to lead off the fourth and advanced to second when Austin Huber drew a two-out walk. The runners moved up one base each on Vaun Brown's infield single and Gonzalez tied the game with a two-run single in the next at-bat.
- Florida Southern would score another two-out run in the top of the sixth when Scott drew a bases-loaded walk to put Southern up 4-3. The Panthers regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth when, with one out and a runner on first, Cantanza doubled down the left line to bring in a run and tie things at 4-4. Florida Tech added on the eventual winning run when Catanza scored on a throwing error following an infield single to make it 5-4.
- The Mocs went down in order in the seventh and eighth innings, and the Panthers tacked on an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on a one-run double to center that made it 6-4. Teter was able to stroke a two-out double in the top of the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate, but Burnsed struck out to end the game.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern fell to 103-31 all-time against Florida Tech, including a 43-20 record when facing the Panthers on the road. The loss snapped the Moccasins' 11-game winning streak in the series.
- Teter reached base for the 36th-straight game by finishing 2-for-5.
- The teams will conclude their series tomorrow at 11 a.m. in Melbourne. The game was originally slated for a 12 p.m. start but was moved up one hour due to a forecast that calls for afternoon rain.