WINTER PARK – Senior Ben Richardson took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before allowing a base hit with one out as 7th-ranked Florida Southern downed Rollins 10-1 in a Sunshine State Conference series opener Friday here at Alfond Stadium.
The win is Florida Southern's 16 in the last 18 games and improves the Moccasins to 24-8 overall and 7-3 in the SSC while Rollins drops to 20-15 overall and 5-8 in the league.
Richardson (9-1) set down the first 12 Tars batters in order, recording five strikeouts, before Nick Purcell reached on an infield error to lead off the fourth. Purcell would eventually come around to score an unearned run on a stolen base, passed ball, and an infield ground out.
Richardson continued his mastery of the Rollins' line-up, retiring the next eight batters before Skip Kovar singled up the middle to spoil the no-hitter. The senior righthander recovered to get a pop up and a ground out before giving way to reliever Walker Burgess, who tossed a 1-2-3 ninth inning to preserve the Moccasins' first one-hitter since Clay Chapman tossed one against Lynn on March 14, 2014.
Richardson finished the night with eight innings of work with six strikeouts and one walk while facing just 26 batters.
On the other side of the diamond, Florida Southern was held in check through the first three innings before getting a solo run in the fourth as Mitch Reeves, Jason Sierra, and Dominic Brugnoni hit consecutive singles to lead off the inning.
Sam Machonis gave the Mocs a 2-0 lead in the fifth, smashing his team-leading ninth homer over the right field wall on a full count.
After failing to score in the sixth, Florida Southern sent 11 men to the plate in the seventh inning for eight runs.
Pablo Cabrera got the Mocs offense in motion, singling to lead off the big inning. Logan Browning singled while Machonis doubled in Cabrera. Browning would come around to score on a passed ball and Reeves and Sierra walked to load the bases and chase Rollins' starter Brian Auerbach (5-3).
Tars reliever Brooks Norton got an infield ground with Machonis scoring on the play. A walk and a caught stealing later, Blake Swann hit the first pitch he saw over the left field wall for his first round-tripper of the season for three more Florida Southern runs. Kevin Fuller followed with a single and scored when Cabrera collected his second single of the inning.
The final Moccasin run came in the eighth as Machonis got his third hit of the night and his second double and scored on a double by Brugnoni.
The same two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m. in Winter Park.