LAKELAND – Florida Southern hit four home runs, including a pair from senior Sam Machonis, but it wasn't enough as Saint Leo topped the 22nd-ranked Moccasins, 11-8, in the opening game of a three-game Sunshine State Conference series here Friday at Henley Field.
Florida Southern (30-17 overall and 12-10 in the SSC) answered a one-run top of the first by Saint Leo (27-19 and 12-11) as Mitch Reeves homered with two outs in the bottom of the inning for his ninth dinger of the season.
The Lions grabbed a 4-1 lead in the top of the third on four hits, including RBI-doubles by Shane Williams and Alex Mata.
The Moccasins cut the lead to 4-3 as Logan Brown hit his ninth homer of the season, a solo shot with one out in the bottom of the fourth and Dominic Brugnoni scored on a bases-loaded walk.
After a solo homer by Troy Sieber gave Saint Leo a 5-3 lead in the top of the fifth, the Moccasins took the lead in the bottom of the frame as Jason Sierra tripled in a pair of runs and then scored on a double by Blake Swann. For Sierra, his triple extended his hit streak to a team season-high 11 games.
Machonis then hit his 11th homer of the year with one out in the sixth for a two-run Moccasin lead, 7-5. However, the lead was short-lived as the visiting Lions pushed across four runs in the top of the seventh on five hits for a 11-5 margin. Saint Leo added two insurance runs in the top of the eighth on a two-run, pinch-hit homer, by Zach Sabo.
Marchonis then closed out the Moccasin scoring with his 12th round-tripper, another solo shot in the bottom of ninth.
Zach Whitaker got the win for Saint Leo with 4.1 innings of relief work to improve to 6-1 while starter Ben Richardson took the loss in 7.0 innings of work to drop to 9-5 on the season.
Florida Southern hosts Saint Leo for a regular-season ending doubleheader Saturday at 1 pm at Henley Field. Prior to the first game, the Moccasins will honor their 10 seniors – Brady Arenson, Paul Bretton, Jr., Stephen Brooks, Dominic Brugnoni, Jason Carmichael, David Lugo, Sam Machonis, Ben Richardson, Shawn Sanders, and Blake Swann.