SAINT LEO, FL - Thomas Spinelli turned in his best performance of the season as Florida Southern College baseball earned a split in Thursday's doubleheader at Sunshine State Conference rival Saint Leo. The Moccasins (22-24, 8-18 SSC) topped the Lions (22-24, 11-15) by a 4-1 final in the second game after falling 2-0 in the first game of the twin bill at Southard Stadium.
J.J. Niekro (1-2) was hit with the loss in the first game despite allowing just six hits in 7.0 innings of work. He struck out five and did not issue a walk. McCabe Sargent (4-5) picked up the win for Saint Leo by going the distance and giving up just two hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Spinelli (2-0) allowed just one hit in 5.0 inning with two walks and seven strikeouts, while Shane Haight (3-5) took the loss after allowing four runs on eight hits in 5.0 innings.
The teams will wrap up their three-game series tomorrow with a 1 p.m. contest. The start time for the third and final game in the series could change due to a weather forecast that calls for rain and thunderstorms early in the day on Friday. Fans should check FSCMocs.com and follow @FSC_Mocs on Twitter for the latest schedule updates.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME ONE
- Both teams squandered chances to score in the first inning as both the Mocs and Lions got a runner to third with two outs but were unable to come up with a clutch two-out hit in a scoreless first. Each team went down in order in the second and third, and Southern was set down in order in the top of the fourth. Saint Leo finally put up the game's first run when Jared Morello led off the bottom of the fourth with a solo homer to right that made it 1-0.
- The Lions added on their second run in the bottom of the fifth when Jacob Reimold led off the inning with a double, advanced on a groundout to first, and scored on Danny Torres' sacrifice fly to right to make it 2-0.
- Florida Southern had two golden opportunities to get on the board in the seventh and eighth innings but was unable to push a run across. Zach Scott singled to lead off the seventh and Jacob Teter walked to put two on with no outs, but Christian Maglich grounded into a double play in the next at-bat and Ricky Gonzalez struck out to end the threat.
- In the eighth, Alex Goebel was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and advanced to second on Alan Burnsed's single up the middle. After Matty Warren laid down a sac bunt to move the runners into scoring position with one out, it looked as if the Mocs might be able to tie the game, but Vaun Brown and Pablo Cabrera each grounded out to keep the score 2-0.
- Maglich reached on an error with two outs in the top of the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate, but Gonzale grounded out to third as Sargent finished things out for his first complete game of the season.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME TWO
- In the second game, it would be the Saint Leo offense that struggled mightily as the Lions did not have a batter reach base until the bottom of the fourth. The Mocs were able to take advantage of Spinelli's strong start on the mound by scoring the game's first run in the top of the third. Brown singled to lead off the inning and moved to second on Cabrera's sacrifice bunt. He would come around to score when Teter singled to right center to make it 1-0.
- Spinelli was able to work around a one-out single in the bottom of the fourth and a pair of walks in the fifth to allow the Moccasins to stay in front. Florida Southern would score three runs in the top of the sixth when back-to-back batters were hit by a pitch before Maglich singled to load the bases with no outs. Alex Goebel followed with a two-run single through the right side to make it 3-0, and Tidwell drove in a run on a fielder's choice to push the lead to 4-0.
- Jacob Kelley would enter the game in the bottom of the sixth for the Mocs and tossed three scoreless innings before Leo Rodriguez entered to pitch the ninth. After issuing a leadoff walk and a double that put runners in scoring position with no outs, the Lions were able to plate their first run when Peyton Isaacson hit a deep fly ball to center that nearly dropped for extra bases, but was tracked down by Brown to limit the damage to just one run.
- Another walk in the next at-bat would bring the tying run to the plate with runners on the corners and one out. Mike Wyman reached on a fielder's choice that brought a run across to slice the deficit to two (4-2), but the Mocs were able to get the lead runner out at second. Reimold singled down the third-base line to put runners at first and second and bring the winning run to the dish in the form of Paul Coumoulos.
- A passed ball on a 1-1 count allowed the tying run to move to second and Coumoulos was able to draw a pinch-hit walk to load the bases for Torres, who drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 4-3. With the tying run just 90 feet from home and the winning run on second, a wild play would ensue for the final out when Derek Gibree struck out swinging, but reached first on a dropped third strike. However, the Mocs were able to get the force out at home to end the game.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern moved to 134-52 all-time against Saint Leo, including a 59-30 record when facing the Lions on the road. The Moccasins are now 13-12 on the road this season.
- Cabrera finished the day with a hit in the second game to push his career total to 205. He is just the 18th player in school history with at least 200 hits in his career.
- Thursday's win in game two snapped a five-game losing streak for the Moccasins.
- Florida Southern and Saint Leo are slated to finish their three-game series at 1 p.m. tomorrow, weather permitting. The Moccasins will host Tampa next weekend in the final series of the season (May 10-11). Senior Day for the Mocs will take place prior to the May 10 contest.