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Mocs Unable to Rally Past USC Aiken

Cody Duke had two hits and drove in three runs in Saturday's loss to USC Aiken
Cody Duke had two hits and drove in three runs in Saturday's loss to USC Aiken

AIKEN, SC - Florida Southern College baseball rallied from an early 2-0 deficit to take a lead in the sixth inning but was unable to hold off USC Aiken in the late stages of a 5-4 loss in game two of a three-game series on Saturday at Roberto Hernandez Stadium. The No. 5 Moccasins (4-2) took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth, but the Pacers (7-2) plated three runs in the bottom half of the inning to go up 5-3 and staved off a late rally in the top of the ninth.

Cody Duke went 2-for-5 with a home run and three RBI in the loss, while Pablo Cabrera had three hits and Isaiah Cullum had two. Matt Martin (1-1) was saddled with the loss after allowing five runs on six hits in 5.1 innings of work. Collin Camarigg threw 2.2 innings of scoreless relief in his collegiate debut. The series will conclude tomorrow with a 1 p.m. contest as Carson King will take the mound for the Mocs. King was part of a combined no-hitter in his first collegiate start on Feb. 5 against Eckerd.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • USC Aiken got off to a fast start when Conner Durden knocked a two-out pitch beyond the outfield wall in the bottom of the first to give the Pacers a 2-0 lead. Florida Southern got on the board in the top of the fourth when Zach Diewert and Isaiah Cullum hit back-to-back singles and Duke brought in a run on an RBI groundout to short to make it 2-1.
  • The Mocs jumped on top in the sixth when Duke jacked a two-run shot to bring Cullum in following a leadoff walk to put the Mocs up 3-2. However, the tide turned in the bottom half of the inning when a one-out single, followed by a hit batter and a walk, loaded the bases for USC Aiken. The Pacers were able to plate three runs in the inning on an RBI fielders' choice, a throwing error on a stolen base, and an RBI single down the left field line to take a 5-3 advantage.
  • Florida Southern was able to get a pair of runners in scoring position in the top of the seventh after Cabrera and Zach Scott reached on back-to-back errors and Jacob Teter walked, but Diewert struck out swinging and Cullum hit into a double play to end the scoring threat.
  • Neither team would threaten to score in the eighth, but the Mocs had a golden chance to score in the ninth the first three batters walked. Duke struck out swinging for the first out, but Ricky Gonzalez brought Southern withing one when he hit a sacrifice fly to center to bring Teter in from third. With the tying run at second base, Vaun Brown grounded out to second to end the game.
  • The Mocs finished with 10 hits and committed one error while the Pacers tallied eight hits and committed three errors. Florida Southern left 14 runners on base while USC Aiken stranded eight. Austin Sandifer (1-0) picked up the win for the Pacers by tossing a perfect sixth inning in relief and Hunter Shuff picked up the save. 

INSIDE THE NUMBERS

  • Florida Southern fell to 5-3 all-time against USC Aiken and 2-3 when facing the Pacers on the road.
  • Cabrera went 3-for-4 to push his career hit total to 181. He needs 47 more to crack the top 10 in the Florida Southern record book.
  • Cabrera, Cullum, Diewert, and Teter have reached base safely in all six games this season, while Cabrera and Diewert have a hit in each game.

UP NEXT

  • The Moccasins close out the weekend series with the rubber match at 1 p.m. on Sunday and will face Merrimack at home on Feb. 21 before opening Sunshine State Conference action next weekend at home against Barry (Feb. 22-23).