MELBOURNE – Florida Southern junior pitcher Brady Arenson pitched a gem Sunday to lead the Moccasins to a 3-0 victory over No. 11 Florida Tech in the final game of the series at Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field.
After the Moccasin pitching staff surrendered 23 runs on 30 hits in the Saturday doubleheader sweep, Arenson (Glenview, Ill.) held the Panthers scoreless on just four hits and four walks in 7.2 innings, tying the junior southpaw's longest outing of the season. He fanned a pair and threw 127 pitches.
Casey Eskew (Sarasota, Fla.) relieved Arenson and sealed the win with 1.1 innings of hitless ball for the senior's second save of the season.
The shutout victory is the first of its kind for the Mocs (12-15, 2-7 SSC) this season and their first since May 4, 2014. On that day, Brian Johnson hurled a complete-game three-hitter in a 4-0 road victory over Eckerd.
Arenson was locked in a pitcher's duel with Florida Tech (26-5, 9-4 SSC) ace Scott Ward for most of the afternoon. Ward, who entered the Sunday matinee with a perfect 7-0 record in seven starts on the season, suffered his first defeat after giving up one run on five hits in 7.0 innings of work.
Ward went 1-2-3 threw the Moccasin lineup the first time around, but FSC touched senior lefty for its first run in the fourth inning. Senior Kyle Richards (Groton, Conn.), junior Shawn Sanders (Citra, Fla.) and senior Chris Dennis (Rockledge, Fla.) led off the inning with three singles in order to load the bases. Junior Jhalan Jackson (Winter Haven, Fla.) drove in a run on what should have been an RBI groundout, but an error on Florida Tech third baseman Ricky Rodriguez kept the bases loaded with no outs.
Ward caught redshirt junior Blake Swann (Live Oak, Fla.) looking for the first out of the frame and then escaped the jam without any further damage when Sanders was thrown out at home plate by Panthers right fielder Daniel Szpik as he attempted to score on a Dominic Brugnoni (St. Clair Shores, Mich.) fly out.
Sanders was walked by Florida Tech reliever Brett Porter in the eighth and came around to score on a Swann RBI base hit. Sophomore Jason Sierra (Sarasota, Fla.) added another insurance run in the ninth. He singled and to lead off the inning and came around to score on a Sam Machonis (Tampa, Fla.) RBI base hit.
While double plays doomed the Mocs in Game 1 of Saturday's doubleheader, a 6-3 loss, Arenson induced three in the first four innings to stifle the Panthers' offensive. With two runners on and no outs in the bottom of the first, Austin Allen hit into a 4-6-3 double play. Rodriguez flew out end the inning and Florida Tech's biggest threat of the day. The third inning ended when Grant McKown hit into a 5-4-3 double play, and with a runner on and nobody out in the bottom of the fourth, Rodriguez hit into a 6-4-3 twin killing.
Sanders paced the Mocs with two hits to extend his streak of consecutive games with multiple hits and a run scored to five. He's recorded two or more hits in eight of his last 10 games dating back to the series opener against then No.1 Tampa on March 13. Sanders is batting .450 (18-for-40) with eight runs scored and six RBIs since the 11-5 upset over the Spartans.
Dennis and Swann also kept their hit streaks in tack, now at 25 and 13 games, respectively.
Florida Southern returns home to the historic Henley Field on Thursday, April 2 to host a three-game series against Rollins (15-18, 2-10 SSC) with a single game at 6 p.m. The series will conclude with a doubleheader on Friday, beginning at 1 p.m.