CLEVELAND, MS - West Alabama scored a pair of unearned runs in the top of the ninth to defeat Florida Southern, 7-6, here Saturday and eliminate the Moccasins on day three of the NCAA Division II South Regional Tournament at the Tim & Nancy Harvey Stadium at Dave "Boo" Ferriss Field. The Moccasins end their season with a 35-17 record while the Tigers will take a 36-19 record into their game on Sunday against Tampa.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Marcus Morrisette put West Alabama ahead in the first inning with a three-run homer to left field off Moccasin starter, J.J. Niekro.
- Logan Browning answered with a grand slam for the Moccasins in the bottom of the opening stanza. After a pair of strikeouts to start the inning, the Moccasin offense got on track as Austin Mauer and Omar Villaman had back-to-back singles while Mitch Reeves drew a walk to load the bases. Browning then deposited a 1-1 pitch from Tigers' starter Cole Waites over the left field fence for his second grand slam and seventh homer of the season for a 4-3 Moccasin lead.
- Tyler Knowles came on in relief of Niekro in the second with one out and runners on first and second and got a fly ball and a strikeout to end the threat. The senior righty then set down the Lions in order in each of the next four innings, retiring 14 straight before giving up a lead-off single to start the seventh inning. One out later, Brock Montgomery homered off Knowes to put West Alabama ahead, 5-4. Cameron Hanes (1-4) relieved Knowles with two out and runners on first and third when Mauer threw out Nick Delgado trying to steal third to end the inning.
- As the Mocs prepared to come to bat in the bottom of the seventh, strong winds and light run descended upon the ballpark, forcing a one hour and 47 minute delay.
- Florida Southern had a runner reach second base in the second, fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, but could not capitalize on any of the opportunities.
- Once the game resumed, the Moccasins came out strong as Villaman, Reeves, and Browning hit consecutive singles to start the inning with Browning base hit driving in Villaman with the tying run.
- West Alabama took the lead in the top of the seventh, combining a pair of base hits with a pair of Moccasin errors for two unearned runs. The first run came on a single and the second on a bases-loaded walk.
- Florida Southern did not go down without a fight as Reeves singled off Brady Badon (4-1) to lead off the ninth and Browning enticed a walk. West Alabama third baseman Marcus Morrisette then came on in relief, making his first pitching appearance of the season. Morrisette got one out before Evan Barnes singled in Reeves to pull the Mocs within one run. After a pop up, Burgess was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Morrisette got a strike out to end the game and earn the save.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- This is Florida Southern's 41st appearance in the NCAA postseason and the Moccasins now have a 147-78 record in tournament play.
- Today's game was just the second meeting between Florida Southern and West Alabama. The Moccasins won, 14-7, in the opening game of the 2009 NCAA South Region Tournament played in Magnolia, Ark.
- Browning also had a grand slam on April 22 against Tampa. His grand slam today was the fifth of the season for Florida Southern as a team. The Moccasins have now had at least one home run in each of the last 10 games (21 total) and have homered at least once in 17 of the last 18 games (34 total), ending the season with a school-record 88 homers, 12 more than the previous mark.
- The middle three batters of the Moccasin line-up - Villaman, Reeves, and Browning - each had two hits and combined to go 6-for-13 with five runs scored.
- Knowles worked 5-1/3 innings and held West Alabama to two runs on three hits. He matched his career-high with seven strikeouts while issuing zero walks.
- With the 10 strikeouts today, the Moccasin pitching staff has totaled 481 for the season, the second most strikeouts in school history, surpassed only by the 1995 squad which recorded 495 strikeouts.
NCAA SOUTH REGION TOURNAMENT HOME PAGE (for live video and live stats)
NCAA DIVISION II BASEBALL
SOUTH REGION TOURNAMENT
(all times Eastern Time)
THURSDAY, MAY 18
GM1 - #3 Nova Southeastern 20, #6 West Alabama 5
GM2 - #2 Tampa 12, #7 Miles 1
GM3 - #4 Florida Southern 6, #5 Valdosta State 3
FRIDAY, MAY 19
GM4 - West Alabama 17, Miles 15 (Miles eliminated)
GM5 - #1 Delta State 9, Florida Southern 7
GM6 - Nova Southeastern 3, Tampa 1
SATURDAY, MAY 20
GM7 - West Alabama 7, Florida Southern 6 (Florida Southern eliminated)
GM8 - Tampa 14, Valdosta State 5 (Valdosta State eliminated)
GM9 - Delta State 4, Nova Southeastern 1
SUNDAY, MAY 21
GM10 - West Alabama 7, Tampa 6 (Tampa eliminated)
GM11 - West Alabama 10, Nova Southeastern 9 (Nova Southeastern eliminated)
MONDAY, MAY 22
GM12 - Delta State 6, West Alabama 4 (West Alabama eliminated)
Delta State Wins Regional Championship