CARY, NC– Senior Logan Browning struck out 11 batters in 6.0 innings and hot-hitting Omar Villaman went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored as Florida Southern downed Columbus State, 3-2, handing the Cougars their first loss at the 2018 NCAA Division II Baseball National Tournament here at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. The win by the Moccasins (45-10-1) sets up a rematch with the Cougars (47-14) scheduled for Friday at 1 p.m. with the winner advancing to play for the national championship.
Both the Mocs and the Cougars have one loss, so the loser of Friday's game is eliminated and the winner advances to play Augustana which bounced Southern New Hampshire, 8-2, Thursday afternoon. The championship game is slated for Saturday at 3 pm. with a second game to follow, if necessary.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Florida Southern wasted no time in getting on the scoreboard, plating a run in the bottom of the first inning. Jacob Teter, batting in the third spot in the batting order for the first time this season, doubled to the wall in right-center field with two outs and scored when Omar Villaman singled. For Villaman, the base hit was his seventh in his last nine at-bats.
- Columbus State tied the score at 1-all in the top of the fourth inning on a lead-off walk by Browning (11-2) and an RBI-single by Chase Brown.
- The Moccasins took the lead back in the bottom of the fourth as Villaman continued his hot hitting with a lead-off double for his eighth hit in his last 10 at-bats. Hayden Marze drew a walk and both runners moved up 90-feet on a groundout by Christian Maglich. A passed ball allowed Villaman to score while Marze crossed the plate on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Alex Goebel.
- The Cougars cut the Moccasins lead in half with a solo run on three base hits in the fifth inning to make the score, 3-2.
- Browning gave way to Cole Crowder who started the seventh inning for the Moccasins. Browning struck out 11 for the third time this season and held Columbus State to a pair of runs on seven hits and one walk.
- Crowder pitched his way out of a jam in the top of the eighth inning after giving up a base hit, a groundout, and two walks to load the bases. The junior lefty came back to get a strikeout and a fly ball to left field to end the threat.
- Florida Southern had a chance to add to the lead in the bottom of the eighth as Omar Villaman reached on a one-out infield error and Marze followed with a base hit, but the Moccasins could not capitalize.
- Mike Palaez came on to pitch the ninth inning and after getting back-to-back fly outs to the outfield, got Garrett Kirkwood to pop up to first in foul territory to record his second save of the season.
- Columbus State starter T.J. Clark tossed a complete game, striking out six Moccasins while allowing nine hits and walking one.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern now has a 153-79 record in the NCAA postseason. The Moccasins sport a 45-10-1 record following today's game. The 45 victories are the most for an FSC team since the 2005 Moccasins won a national championship with a 51-11 record.
- This was the 14th meeting between Florida Southern and Columbus State. The Moccasins now lead the series 9-5. The two clubs have met three times before in the postseason with the Mocs winning all three previous meetings. FSC won 5-3 and 8-1 at the South Atlantic Regional in 1975 and 1976, respectively, and also defeated the Cougars in the 1984 National Tournament, 17-5, in Riverside, CA.
- Browning's fourth of his 11 strikeouts (third time this season he has K'ed 11 batters) broke the FSC record of 495 set in FSC's National Championship season in 1995. Crowder added a pair of strikeouts to give Moccasins 505 punchouts on the year.
- Browning has struck out 22 batters in 13.0 innings in two starts at the national tournament, recording 11 K's in each game. He now has 127 strikeouts on the season which is 10th most in Moccasin history and ranks fourth all-time with 291 career strikeouts.
- Browning is now 24-7 for his career at FSC and the 24 victories tie him with three others for seventh most in program history. Today's start was the 49th of his career, tying him with Ben Richardson (2013-16) for third place on the all-time list.
- Teter's first-inning double extended his hitting streak to 11 games. He is batting .429 (6-for-14) at the national tournament.
- Villaman is now 7-for-9 over the last two games. The senior shortstop is hitting .529 in four national tournament games and is now second on the Moccasins with a .356 overall average.
NCAA DIVISION II BASEBALL
- Game 1 - #5 Augustana 5, #4 Southern New Hampshire 2
- Game 2 - #1 Florida Southern 5, #8 Southern Indiana 3
- Game 3 - #3 UC San Diego 4, #6 Texas A&M Kingsville 0
- Game 4 - #2 Columbus State 8, #7 Mercyhurst 1
- Game 5 - Southern New Hampshire 3, Southern Indiana 0 (Southern Indiana eliminated)
- Game 6 - Augustana 6, Florida Southern 5
- Game 7 - Texas A&M Kingsville 9, Mercyhurst 0 (Mercyhurst eliminated)
- Game 8 - Columbus State 6, UC San Deigo 0
- Game 9 - Florida Southern 8, Texas A&M-Kingsville 0(Texas A&M-Kingsville eliminated)
- Game 10 - Southern New Hampshire 7, UC San Diego 4 (UC San Diego eliminated)
- Game 11 - Florida Southern 3, Columbus State 2
- Game 12 (May 31, 1 pm) - Augustana vs. Southern New Hampshire
- Game 13 (June 1, 3 pm) - Florida Southern vs. Columbus State
- Game 14 - TBD