FT. LAUDERDALE, FL - A pair of big innings for the home team proved to be too much to overcome as Florida Southern College baseball fell to No. 21 Nova Southeastern, 13-3, in the first game of a three-game Sunshine State Conference series on Friday evening at the NSU Baseball Complex. The Moccasins (21-21, 7-15 SSC) got on the board first with one run in the fourth inning, but the Sharks (30-15, 17-11) scored four runs in the fifth and eight in the eighth inning to pick up the win.
The Mocs trailed by just two (5-3) heading into the bottom of the eighth, but Nova Southeastern sent 12 hitters to the plate in the eighth and Florida Southern committed an error, issued four walks and threw two wild pitches in the inning as NSU needed just five hits to plate the eight runs. J.J. Niekro (1-1) was saddled with the loss for Southern after allowing four runs on six hits in 4.1 innings. Devin Meyer (6-3) picked up the win for the Sharks by allowing just three runs on five hits in 7.1 innings.
The series continues on Saturday with a 1 p.m. contest and concludes with a 12 p.m. matchup on Sunday. First pitch for each of the final two games in the series was moved up from the originally scheduled times of 3 p.m. Saturday and 1 p.m. on Sunday.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Neither team was able to get on the board in the first three innings as both squandered early chances to push across the first run of the game. Jacob Teter led off the top of the second with a double to right-center and Christian Maglich drew a one-out walk to put runners on first and second, but Meyer retired the final two batters of the inning to keep the game scoreless. NSU had an early opportunity in the third inning with runners on the corners and one away, but Andrew Labosky grounded into a double play to end the inning.
- Florida Southern finally broke through in the top of the fourth when Zach Scott smacked a leadoff triple to left-center and came across to score on a fielder's choice that allowed Teter to reach first with no outs. The Mocs almost struck for more, but Chris Tidwell grounded into an inning-ending double play with runners on first and second and the Moccasins led 1-0.
- After setting the Sharks down in order in the bottom of the fourth and failing to score in the top of the fifth, things would unravel for the Mocs in the bottom of the inning. A leadoff single, followed by a double and a walk, loaded the bases with no outs. After inducing a fly out to right field that held the runners at their respective base, Niekro would give up an RBI single to right-center that tied the game at 1-1. In the next at-bat, Labosky singled through the right side to plate two more and put the Sharks up 3-1.
- The two-run single chased Niekro from the mound as Logan Verrino came on in relief and immediately got the second out when Garrett Wolforth fouled out to third. But a walk in the next at-bat loaded the bases with two outs and Samual Duran drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 4-1 before Verrino struck out the final batter of the inning.
- Duran would bring another run across the plate on an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh to push the lead to 5-1, but the Mocs responded in the top of the eighth by scoring twice to make it 5-3. Scott singled through the right side with two on and one out to cut the deficit to three (5-2) and Alex Goebel singled up the middle with two outs to bring home a run and make it 5-3 heading into the bottom of the eighth.
- The bottom half of the eighth inning proved to be the final blow to Florida Southern as the Sharks plated eight runs on an RBI single, a wild pitch that allowed a run to score, an RBI single, and three doubles that brought five runs across the plate. The big blow was Duran's bases-clearing double with one out that turned an 8-3 advantage into an 11-3 lead. The Mocs were able to get a runner on base with one out in the top of the ninth after Austin Huber drew a walk, but the final two batters were set down in order to end the game.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern fell to 44-33 all-time against Nova Southeastern, including a 19-20 mark when facing the Sharks on the road.
- Pablo Cabrera, who finished 1-for-4, picked up the 202nd hit of his career and needs 30 more to crack the top 10 in school history in career hits. He is just the 18th player in school history with 200 hits in a career.
- Scott had two or more hits for the 18th time this season. He leads the Moccasins in multi-hit games, and also picked up the team's first triple of the season on Friday.
- The teams will square off again at 1 p.m. on Saturday before wrapping up the series at 12 p.m. on Sunday. The Mocs will head to Saint Leo for three games next weekend (May 3-4) before closing out the season at home against Tampa (May 10-11). Senior Day for Florida Southern will take place prior to the 6 p.m. contest against Tampa on May 10.