Moccasins Done in By Two Big Innings in Exhibition Game Against Detroit Tigers
LAKELAND - Florida Southern kept its annual exhibtion game here Wednesday with the Detroit Tigers close for three innings, but the defending American League Champions exploded for four runs in the fourth en route to posting an 11-0 victory over the Moccasins in front of a crowd of 3,077 at Joker Marchant Stadium.
The shutout for the Mocs was its first in its annual exhibition game with the Tigers since 2007 when Detroit posted a 14-0 win over the Mocs. Wednesday's game was the 27th all-time meeting in the series that began in 1979.
In Wednesday's game, FSC recorded two hits in the game as sophomore leftfielder Keith Curcio (Sarasota, Fla.) reached on a 2-out single up the middle off of Detroit starting pitcher Max Scherzer in the first inning and recorded its second hit in the second inning on another single up the middle by senior first baseman Kyle Jackson (Avon Park, Fla.).
The Tigers, who are the defending American League Champions, got all the offense it would need in the bottom of the first inning thanks to back-to-back home runs by Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera off of Moccasin senior starter Mike Czenszak (Dowingtown, Pa.). Cabrera was in his first game back for the Tigers after playing for Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
Czenszak was making his second career start against the Tigers as he started the game in 2011 and pitched two innings in last season's meeting. In Wednesday's game, the righthander threw one inning.
The Tigers, who are fourth in the Grapefruit League standings with a 10-8-1 record, added to its lead in the fourth as they plated four runs on four hits in the inning off of senior hurler Matt Fuglesang (Land O'Lakes, Fla.). The big hit in the inning was a 2-run double down the right field by by Steven Moya, who was called up from the Tigers minor camp for Wednesday's game. The other two runs came in on a single through the leftside by Aaron Westlake, another minor leaguer that was called up for the game.
Scherzer would pitch four innings for Detroit as he allowed just two hits, walked one and recorded seven strikeouts. In three spring starts, he has yet to allow a run and has struck out 14 in 8.2 innings of work.
The Tigers added to its lead in the sixth inning on back-to-back triples and a sacrifice fly to take an 8-0 lead off of junior releiver Steven Burnham (Valrico, Fla.).
Following Jackson's with one out in the second inning, the Mocs would only have only one additional base runner as junior designated hitter T.J. Kuban (Valencia, Pa.) drew a walk from Scherzer in the second inning.
Anibal Sanchez retired the Mocs in order in his four innings of work as he recorded six strikeouts, while Brayan Villarreal struck all three Mocs he faced in the ninth inning.
The Tigers would add to its lead in the seventh inning thanks to two hits, three runs and three wild pitches by junior Cameron Grimsley (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) to lead 11-0. Grimsley was the seventh Moc pitcher of the game.
In the eighth, junior Nate Carter (Boca Raton, Fla.) relieved Grimsley and retired the side in order, including striking out the final two hitters he faced. One of those batters Carter struck out was fomer Moccasin catcher Zach Maggard. Maggard, who was called up from minor league camp for Wednesday's game, was drafted in the 34th round by the Tigers in the 2011 MLB Draft and played primarily at Detroit's Class A team in West Michigan last season. For the game, Maggard, who pinch hit for starting catcher Brayan Pena in the fifth and stayed in to catch the rest of the game, went 1-for-3 against his former school as he had a double in Detroit's 3-run seventh inning.
Detroit finished with 11 hits in the game as Moya went 3-for-3 with three runs scored and 2 RBIs, while Pena went 2-for-2 before Maggard replaced him and Chad Wright scored two runs. The Detroit regulars all only had one at bat in the game and were all replaced by the third inning by Tigers manager Jim Leyland.
Other Mocs that pitched in Wednesday's game included senior Austin Jackson (Deltona, Fla.), senior Jack Sterritt (Ponte Vedra, Fla.) and junior Nick Krolczyk (Coral Springs, Fla.). On the game, the Mocs had eight pitchers throw one inning apiece.
FSC will return to Sunshine State Conference action this weekend as they host Barry in a three-game series at Henley Field. The teams will play a single nine inning game on Friday, March 15 at 6 p.m., before playing a doubleheader to conclude the series on Saturday, March 16 beginning at 1 p.m.