ST. PETERSBURG – Mitch Reeves' two-run homer keyed an eight-run seventh inning as 9th-ranked Florida Southern came from behind to defeat Eckerd 13-4 in game two of a Sunshine State Conference doubleheader here Saturday at the Turley Athletic Complex to complete a series sweep of the Tritons.
Florida Southern improves to 20-7 overall and 6-3 in the SSC with the win (the team's 12th in the last 13 games) while Eckerd falls to 9-14 overall and 2-10 in the SSC.
Eckerd took a 3-1 lead into the seventh inning with the Mocs' lone run scoring on a wild pitch in the top of the fifth inning.
Pablo Cabrera opened the Mocs' eighth-run seventh with a single and would be the first of 10 Florida Southern hitters to make it to the plate in the inning. Logan Browning doubled to put runners at first and second with Sam Machonis reaching on a infield error with Cabrera and Browning scoring to knot the game at 3-all. Reeves then blasted a shot over the batter's eye in dead center field off reliever Jake Silberman (0-5) for his sixth round-tripper of the season and to give the Mocs a 5-3 lead.
Eckerd reliever Zack Hoppe then came on and walked back-to-back batters before giving up a sacrifice bunt to Shawn Sanders. David Lugo then singled up the middle for his second hit in consecutive at bats to drive in one run and chase Hoppe. Taylor Owens then came on to pitch for the Tritons and walked Kevin Fuller before being lifted for Gardner Nutter, the fourth pitcher of the inning.
Nutter gave up a RBI-single to Cabrera for the seventh run of the inning. With the bases now loaded Nutter hit Browning with a pitch to force in the eighth run on the frame.
After Eckerd added a solo run in top of the eighth, Lugo and Fuller hit back-to-back home runs off Nutter for a 11-4 Moccasin lead. It was Lugo's second of the season and Fuller's first of the season. The Tritons again went to the bullpen and brought in Kelsey Lunde who was greeted by consecutive homers by Browning (his sixth) and Machonis (his eighth) for the final 13-4 margin.
The four home runs in the ninth ties a Moccasin record last set on May 5, 1988 as Billy Kull, Mark Chasey, Cris Allen and Bobby LeFebre all hit homers in a 10-run sixth inning in a 20-9 win at Armstrong Atlantic.
The five homers in the game for Florida Southern marks the first time since March 14, 2010 against Valdosta State that the Moccasins have gone deep at least five times in a game. In that game, it was six homers as Kelvin Clark smashed three, Trae Gore hit two, and Wade Kirkland went yard once.
Craig Savage (2-0) got the win for the Mocs with 4-1/3 innings of work, holding the Tritons to one run on five hits and three strikeouts.
In game one, Reeves singled to left field to drive in Cabrera with the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth as Florida Southern edged Eckerd, 6-5, in the completion of game one of Thursday's scheduled doubleheader that was halted by rain in the bottom of the second inning.
Florida Southern scored an unearn run the top of the first on Thursday while Eckerd had runners on first and second with one out in the second innings when rains forced the game to be halted at that point.
When play resumed today, Grant Banko greeted Moccasin starter Ryan Welsh with a home run over the left field fence for a 3-1 Eckerd lead. Florida Southern got one run back in the top of the third as Machonis clubbed his team-leading seventh homer of the year, also over the left field fence to cut the Triton lead to 3-2.
Eckerd countered with a solo run in the bottom of the inning as Zach Mitsmenn walked and eventually scored on a single by Daniel Autiello to push the Triton lead to 4-2.
The Moccasins tied the game in the top of the fifth as Reeves singled with Machonis on first on a walk. Sierra followed reached on fielder's choice as Machonis was put out at third. One out later, Sanders doubled to deep center to plate Reeves and Sierra.
Florida Southern grabbed a 5-4 lead in the next inning without the benefit of a base hit as Fuller walked, moved to second on a wild pitch, and advanced to third on fly out to center field. he then scored on the second wild pitch of the frame by Eckerd reliever Joey Favetta.
Tom Buonopane opened the seventh with a solo homer off Moccasin reliever A.J. Smith who entered the game to start the fourth inning and proceeded to toss three shutout innings. One out later, Smith was lifted for Mitch McCarthy who got one out before Eckerd loaded the bases on two singles and a walk. Brady Arenson then took the hill for the Mocs and got Bank to pop up to Sanders at second base to end the threat.
Cabrera led off the ninth by drawing a walk and was sacrificed to second. After Favetta (0-1) recorded a strikeout, he was lifted for reliever Gardner Nutter, who gave up Reeve's RBI-single. Arenson (2-1) set down the Tritons in order in the bottom of the ninth for the win.
Florida Southern will host Palm Beach Atlantic for a single game at 6 p.m. on Friday, April 1 and then play a doubleheader against the Sailfish on Saturday, April 2 at 1 p.m.