LAKELAND, FL - Pablo Cabrera became the 18th player in school history with 200 career hits as Florida Southern College baseball split a Sunshine State Conference doubleheader with Palm Beach Atlantic on Thursday at Rodda Stadium at Henley Field. The Moccasins (21-19, 7-14 SSC) fell to the Sailfish (21-20, 11-13) by a 2-1 score in 10 innings in the first game, but finished on a high note with a 3-0 victory in the second contest.
Cabrera, who finished with four hits on the day, picked up his 200th hit on what turned out to be the game-winning RBI single in the fifth inning of the second game shutout. The Mocs got two solid starting pitching performances on Thursday as Cooper Bradford (8.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO) and J.J. Niekro (5.0 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 4 SO) put together their best performances of the season.
Bradford took a no-decision in the first game as Leo Rodriguez (1-1) surrendered his first run of the year in the top of the 10th inning of the 3-1 loss in the first game. Niekro (1-0) grabbed his first win of the year as Carson King (4.0 IP, 2 H, 2 SO) kept the Sailfish bats quiet in relief to earn the save in the second game. Orsen Josephina (2-1) earned the win for PBA in the first game by tossing three shutout innings in relief, and Christian Denton (3-6) was saddled with the loss in game two after allowing two runs, one earned, on six hits in 4.1 innings of work.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME ONE
- The tone for Thursday's doubleheader was set early in what turned out to be a tightly contested pitcher's duel. Neither team was able to get a baserunner past first until the Moccasins loaded the bases in the bottom of the fourth with two outs, but came up empty when Ricky Gonzalez flew out to right. Southern put up the first run of the game when Vaun Brown hit a laser that deflected off the glove of PBA third basemen Sean Houck and fell into the outfield for a double. Cabrera singled in the next at-bat to bring Brown across the plate and make it 1-0.
- After a scoreless sixth, it was Palm Beach Atlantic that got on the board in the top of the seventh. After a leadoff walk and a wild pitch allowed Brandon Seltzer to move to second, Bradford looked as if he might get out of the inning without giving up the lead when he got the next two batters out in order. But Seltzer advanced to third on the second out and came in to score on Riley Herold's RBI single up the middle.
- Florida Southern got the winning run to second base in the bottom of the ninth when Gonzalez singled through the left side with one out to move Colin Camarigg to second after his leadoff single. However, Josephina struck out the final two batters to send the game to extra innings.
- In the top of the 10th, the Sailfish went small-ball and got a runner to second on a one-out sacrifice bunt by David Schwimer. The bunt paid off when Ramon Machado scored from second on Sean Houck's two-out single to center that put Palm Beach Atlantic up 2-1. Cabrera reached first on an error in the bottom of the 10th, but Josephina retired the next three batters to give the Sailfish the win.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME TWO
- The second game of Thursday's doubleheader was another pitcher's duel that saw both teams remain scoreless until the fifth inning. Both teams were able to get a runner to second early on, but neither was able to capitalize.
- Two of the biggest moments in the game came on a pair of fantastic defensive plays in the top of the fifth inning. With runners on first and second and just one out, Florida Southern third baseman Zach Scott made an incredible grab on a hard-hit ground ball and stepped on third for a crucial force-out. In the very next at-bat, Schwimer hit a sharp single to right that was picked up by Gonzalez, who made a laser-throw to home plate that cut down Marcos Perez at the plate for the third out.
- The Mocs took advantage of the highlight-reel defensive play by scoring the game's first run when Cabrera hit a one-out single to right center that brought Christian Maglich in from third, and Vaun Brown scored on an error in the next at-bat to make it 2-0.
- King entered the game in relief in the sixth and gave up two hits in his first frame of work, but sat down the final 10 batters in order to pick up the save. The Mocs tacked on an insurance run when Jacob Teter scored on a wild pitch in the eighth to make the final 3-0.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern moved to 27-9 all-time against Palm Beach Atlantic, including a 16-5 mark when facing the Sailfish at home.
- Cabrera, who finished 4-for-9 on the day, picked up the 200th hit of his career with his RBI single in the second game. He is the 18th player in school history to record 200 hits in his career, and the first since Will Cherry accomplished the feat in 2009 when he finished with 232 career hits.
- Teter, who had reached base safely in each of the first 38 games of the year, saw his streak come to an end when he went 0-for-5 in the first game. His stretch of 38-straight games is tied for the third-best since at least 2003. Logan Browning reached safely in 38-straight games last year, while Cody Burgess reached in 40 in a row in 2017 and Mitch Reeves reached safely in 45-straight games the same year.
- The Moccasins saw their perfect stolen base stretch come to an end in the second game when Cabrera was caught stealing in the third inning. Florida Southern had gone a perfect 26-for-26 in stolen base attempts before that point. The Mocs are now 26-of-27 when attempting to steal a base this year, good for a success rate of 96.3 percent.
- Florida Southern will make a stop at Rollins on April 23 for a single, non-conference game. The Mocs are on the road for a pair of SSC series at Nova Southeastern (April 26-28) and Saint Leo (May 2-3) before closing out the season at home against Tampa (May 10-11).