LAKELAND – Andres Visbal hit a two-run homer in the top of the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie and lift 14th-ranked Nova Southeastern to a 6-3 victory over #17 Florida Southern here at Henley Field Friday in the opening game of a three-game Sunshine State Conference series. The two teams will conclude the series Saturday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader.
Florida Southern (27-14 overall and 9-7 in the SSC) struck first as Shawn Sanders hit his fourth homer of the season with one out in the bottom of the third inning.
Nova Southeastern (32-13 and 15-4) evened score as Brandon Gomez hit his SSC-leading 18th home run of the season to lead off the top of fourth inning off Moccasin starting pitcher, Ben Richardson (9-3).
The Moccasins grabbed the lead back in the bottom of the frame as Logan Browning hit a lead-off single and moved to third on a double by Jason Sierra. One out later, Browning came in to score on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Fuller.
Daniel Zardon and Gomez hit back-to-back doubles to open the sixth inning and tie the score at 2-all. Visbal then hit his 10th homer to give the Sharks a 4-2 lead. Zardon doubled in a run in the seventh while Visbal doubled and scored in the eighth.
Florida Southern mounted a rally in the eighth as Sierra singled to center with one out and Dominic hit his third double of the game to tie a FSC record and drive in Sierra and also chase Sharks starter, Alex Mateo (7-3). NSU reliever Devin Raftery got the next two Moccasin batters to end the threat and eventually pick up his 10th save on the season.
Richardson worked 7.0 innings in the loss for the Moccasins. The senior struck out a career-high 11 batters and walked just one, but gave up six runs on 11 hits. Mitch McCarthy and Chase Pilato each tossed a scoreless frame for Florida Southern.