TAMPA – Pablo Cabrera singled to center field with one out in the top of the eighth to drive in Dominic Brugnoni with the go-head run as 14th-ranked Florida Southern upset #3 Tampa by a 7-6 score here Friday at UT Baseball Field, snapping the Spartans' nine-game win streak.
With the win, the Moccasins improve to 27-11 overall and 9-4 in the Sunshine State Conference while league-leading Tampa falls to 31-7 overall and 13-3 in the SSC.
There was about a half hour between Brugnoni's single which led off the eighth inning and Cabrera's RBI-single as rains hit just as Brugnoni was on his way to first after driving the ball to right field. When the game resumed, Kevin Fuller sacrificed Brugnoni to second base, setting up Cabrera's heroics.
The game was played in two parts as Florida Southern took a 6-0 lead after 4-1/2 innings while Tampa scored six unanswered runs to knot the game at 6-all heading into the eighth.
Florida Southern pushed across a pair of runs in the second inning on a lead-off single by Logan Browning and a one-out single from Dominic Brugnoni with both runners coming across on a single to right field by Pablo Cabrera.
After being held to a Brugnoni double over the next two innings, the Moccasins scored four times in the top of the fifth. Ryan Frost and Shawn Sanders got things rolling back-to-back singles with one out. Sam Machonis then reached when Tampa first baseman Adrian Chacon misplayed his ground ball to load the bases.
Mitch Reeves drove in Frost with a sacrifice fly for the first run of the inning while Browning singled in Sanders. Jason Sierra then laced a double down the left field line to plate Machonis and Browning for a 6-0 lead after five and a half.
FSC starter Ben Richardson held Tampa in check through the first four innings, limiting the Spartans to just two hits.
Tampa began to chip away at the Florida Southern lead with two runs in the fifth on three singles and a Moccasin error and then added two more in the sixth on two singles and a double. In the bottom of the seventh, the Spartans added yet two more runs as Richardson gave up one run on three hits and then departed with two out and two men on. Reliever Brady Arenson (3-2) came in and walked the the first two batters he faced to allow Tampa to tie the game.
Brugnoni singled to right field to lead off the Moccasin eighth inning with his third hit of the game and then the skies opened, forcing a rain delay that lasted for over a half an hour.
Mitch McCarthy came on to start the bottom of the eighth for the Moccasins and retired all six Spartan batters he faced to pick up his second save of the season.
In addition to Brugnoni's three hits, Frost, Browning, and Cabrera each had two hits. Cabrera also drove in three runs and Sierra knocked in two more.
The same two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m. at the University of Tampa.