LAKELAND - J.J. Niekro tossed eight innings of three-hit ball and struck out six as second-ranked Florida Southern topped Florida Tech, 4-1, in game two to sweep a doubleheader from the Panthers on Saturday in Sunshine State Conference play here at Henley Field. In game one, Hayden Marze homered and Logan Browning tripled in two runs as the Mocs posted a 6-3 win. Florida Southern, which has now won 10 straight, stands at 32-4-1 overall and 15-6 in the SSC while the Panthers drop to 14-24 and 6-12.
HOW IT HAPPENED - GAME ONE
- The Moccasins struck first as Cody Burgess and Pablo Cabrera hit back-to-back singles to start the third innings. After a sacrifice bunt by Austin Mauer, Omar Villaman plated Burgess with a single while Cabrera scored on an infield groundout by Browning.
- Florida Southern starter Thomas Spinelli held Florida Tech scoreless through the first four innings before the Panthers finally broke through in the fifth inning as Rodnie Bernard led off the frame with a single and, two outs later, Jacob Buser homered to right field to knot the game at 2-all.
- J.T. Hintzen (9-0) relieved Spinelli to start the sixth inning and set down nine in a row before allowing a solo run in the top of the ninth.
- Marze broke the tie in the bottom of the sixth with a one-out home run to left center field for his 17th round-tripper of the season, tying him with Mitch Reeves (2017) for second place on Florida Southern's single-season list.
- In the next inning with Burgess at third and Villaman on first with singles off Panther starter Rhett Willis, Browning greeted reliever Jordan Murray (2-2) with a triple just inside the right-field foul line to put the Moccasins ahead 5-2.
- Vaun Brown and Dylan Costa had consecutive one-out singles in the eighth with Brown scoring on a sacrifice fly by Burgess.
HOW IT HAPPENED - GAME TWO
- Florida Southern put up a single run in the bottom of the second as Villaman singled, stole second and third, and then scored on a sac fly by Marze.
- Florida Tech tied the game in the third as Jakob Newton drew a lead-off walk off of Niekro. Bernard then singled to right field but was gunned down by Browning when trying to stretch it into a double with Newton moving to third on the play. Newton then tied the game on an infield groundout. The single was the lone hit off of Niekro through six innings.
- The Moccasins broke the tie in the fourth inning as Browning double and scored on a single by Villaman. The duo teamed up again in the sixth as Browning singled and Villaman followed with his second home run of the season for the final 4-1 margin. The double by Browning in the fourth extended his hit streak to 14 games.
- Niekro worked 8.0 innings with six strikeouts and one walk allowed while holding the Panthers to one run on three hits to move to 4-0 on the year. The 8.0 innings is the longest stint by any Moccasin pitcher this season. Leo Rodriguez set Florida Tech down in order in the ninth to pick up his seventh save.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern and Florida Tech have now met 129 times with the Moccasins holding a 99-30 advantage in the series, including a 59-11 record in Lakeland.
- Marz who hit a grand slam in the Mocs' 15-2 win in Friday night's game, now needs three more homers to tie the Moccasin single-season record of 20 home runs set by Jhalan Jackson in 2015.
- With at least one in each game of the weekend series, Florida Southern has hit at least one homer in 16 of the last 17 games.
- Florida Southern entered the week ranked seventh in the NCAA Division II with 54 home runs and added six more over the three-game series with Florida Tech. The Moccasins have now hit 138 homers over the last two seasons.
- The Moccasins have now scored 135 runs on 147 hits during their current 10-game win streak.
- Rodriguez's seven saves are tied for seventh-most in a single season and tied for ninth over a career for any Moccasin pitcher.
- Florida Southern travels to West Palm Beach for a three-day SSC series at Nova Southern on April 20-22.