LAKELAND – Florida Southern hit a combined six solo home runs and a grand slam to sweep Saint Leo 11-5 and 15-10 in a Sunshine State Conference doubleheader here Saturday on Senior Day at Henley Field to close out the regular season.
The NCAA Selection Show for the Division II postseason takes place Sunday at 10 p.m. ET and can be see on NCAA.com. Seven teams will comprise the South Region Tournament. In the last NCAA Division II rankings, the Moccasins were ranked eighth, but have won four of five games in the interim. The champions of the SSC, Gulf South, and Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference receive automatic bids, leaving four at-large openings.
In game one, junior Mitch Reeves, and seniors Dominic Brugnoni and Sam Machois each hit solo home runs while freshman Pablo Cabrera doubled in a pair of runs as the 22nd-ranked Moccasins (32-17 overall and 14-10 in the SSC) grabbed a 5-0 lead to back a strong outing by starting pitcher Logan Browning (5-3).
Browning limited Saint Leo (28-21 and 11-13) to a pair of singles while striking out six batters over the first five innings. The sophomore lefty got into trouble in the sixth, surrendering a solo homer to Troy Sieber (his 15th of the year) and three straight singles as the Lions cut the Moccasin lead to 5-2.
Florida Southern expanded its lead with three runs in the sixth on a balk, a RBI-single by Brugnoni and an infield ground out.
After Saint Leo scored one run in the top of the seventh, senior David Lugo slammed a solo homer to right field. The Lions added a two-run homer in the top of the ninth by pinch-hitter Nick Boland for the final 11-5 margin.
Six Moccasin batters each collected two hits a piece in the opening game
Game two was a game of two halves. The Moccasins led 2-0 after the first five innings while the two teams combined for 23 runs over the final four innings with FSC holding on for a 15-10 victory.
The game started much the way of the first as Reeves and junior Jason Sierra each hit solo homers in the first and second innings, respectively.
A.J. Smith (2-2), meantime, was holding Saint Leo in check, allowing four hits in the first five innings as FSC held on to a 2-0 lead. The junior struck out five in his 6.0 innings. The Lions finally got on the scoreboard with a solo homer by Sieber.
Florida Southern broke thru in the sixth, sending nine men to the plate for four runs. Senior Shawn Sanders and Reeves both doubled in the inning while Machonis, Brugnoni and Sierra each singled as the Moccasin lead grew to 6-2.
The Moccasins batted around in the seventh as well, sending 10 men to the plate for five more runs and a 11-2 lead. However, Saint Leo matched the five runs scored by Florida Southern with a 10-batter inning.
Florida Southern's Lugo got four runs back for the Moccasins in one swing of the bat, hitting the Moccasins' first grand slam of the season in his final at bat as a Moc. Saint Leo wouldn't go down quietly, scoring four runs in the top of the ninth on a three-run homer by Danny Henriquez and a solo home run by Boland.
Brugnoni and Sierra each had three hits for the Moccaisns while Sanders, Machonis and Reeves each two hits.
The two teams combined for 18 home runs in the series—15 of those were solo shots, including 10 by the Moccasins.