LAKELAND – A late Moccasin rally that saw the team put up seven runs over the eighth and ninth innings wasn't enough to overcome an 11-1 deficit as 9th-ranked Florida Southern fell 11-8 to Lynn Friday at Henley Field in the Sunshine State Conference opener for both teams.
Lynn's John Silviano jumped on a 1-1 pitch from Florida Southern starter Ben Richardson (3-1) for a two-run homer in the first inning, the first of three round-trippers hit by the visiting Knights in the contest. Lynn stretched its lead to 5-0 with three unearned runs on three hits in the second inning.
The Knights then went long ball in the top of the eighth off reliever A.J. Smith. After Kyle Schindler and Silviano hit back-to-back singles to lead off the inning, Tyler Curtis took one deep over the center field wall, while one out later, Alex Turner homered to right field for an 11-1 Lynn lead. Smth would finish with six strikeouts, but was tagged for five runs (four earned) in 2.2 innings of work.
Knights starter Frank Grandinette would keep the Moccasins off the scoreboard until Dominic Brugnoni singled with two outs in the fourth and later scored when Lynn rightfielder John Borup dropped a fly ball that should have been the last out of the inning. Grandinette (3-0) would go seven innings and hold the Mocs to the one unearned run with seven strikeouts.
The Lynn bullpen was another matter. Alex Caballero came to start the eighth for Lynn and issued free passes to Mitch Reeves and Jason Sierra before allowing a RBI-single to Brugnoni, which scored Reeves, and another base on balls to Shawn Sanders.
Mike McFerran then came on and uncorked a wild pitch that scored Sierra and Brugnoni with Sanders scoring all the way from first on the play when the Lynn catcher tracked down the wild pitch and threw wildly trying to get the runner at home. One out later, Evan Barnes doubled and Pablo Cabrera drew a walk, but McFerran recovered to entice a infield ground out and ended the rally on a strikeout.
Reeves and Sierra started a second Moccasin rally in the ninth with back-to-back singles to chase McFerran. Burgnoni then greeted reliever Peyton Smith with a blast over the centerfield fence to pull the Moccasins with three, 11-8. Unfortunately, that's all Florida Southern could muster as Smith got a tapper back to the mound, a fielder's choice and a called third strike end the game.
Brugnoni would finish with the homer and two singles for four runs batted in while Logan Browning hit a double and two singles for Florida Southern. Reeves had a pair of singles for the Mocs.
The two teams go at it once again on Saturday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Henley Field.