ST. PETERSBURG - Freshman J.J. Niekro made his first collegiate start here Tuesday and came away with a win as Florida Southern defeated Eckerd, 6-3, in non-Sunshine State Conference action at the Turley Athletic Complex.
Niekro, the younger brother of Moccasin head coach Lance Niekro, worked 6.0 innings, scattering five hits while holding the Tritons to three runs – one earned – with four strikeouts.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Niekro set down the first five batters he faced before giving up a double to Andrew Don with two outs in the second. He came back to retire the next six batters in order before surrendering a single to Tom Buonopane with two out in the fourth. After he pitched a 1-2-3 fifth, Eckerd (6-12) finally got to Niekro in the sixth, scoring three runs (two unearned) on a double by Chase Achuff, a single by Nick Conti, and a two-run homer by Buonopane.
- Florida Southern (11-6) left two men on in both the first and second innings and went down in order in the third.
- The Moccasins finally broke the scoreless tie in the fourth as Omar Villaman singled for the second of his three hits on the night and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Logan Browning.
- Christian Maglich led off the fifth for the Moccasins with a single up middle and, one out later, scored on a double by Pablo Cabrera by sliding around the tag of Eckerd catcher, Dan Autiello. Cabrera would score on two Triton errors on Mitch Reeves' at bat while Reeves scored on a single by Jason Sierra.
- Cabrera led off the seventh with a walk and scored on a double by Reeves, who would move to third on a wild pitch and score when Autiello's throw went into left field.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern improved to 137-37 in the series vs. Eckerd, dating back to 1964 and are now 64-22 against Eckerd in St. Petersburg.
- The Moccasins had 12 hits in the game, marking the fifth time in the last six games the squad has collected 10 or more hits in a game.
- Cody Burgess singled in the first inning and has now had at least one hit in 14 of his 17 games played this season.
- Logan Browning and Omar Villaman each had three hits for the Moccasins while Maglich had a pair of singles as seven different FSC batters had at least one hit.
- Tyler Knowles worked the seventh in relief of Niekro and struck out the side while Craig Savage tossed a scoreless eighth inning. Cameron Hanes then picked up the save with a scoreless ninth, striking out a pair of Triton batters.
- Florida Southern returns to Sunshine State Conference play with a three-game series at Florida Tech in Melbourne on Friday and Saturday. The series opens with a 6 p.m. game on Friday and concludes with a 1 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday.