After Florida Tech won Friday’s opening game, the Florida Southern Moccasins bounced back to take both games of a doubleheader Saturday, upending the Panthers 3-1, and 9-7.
Game one was a pitcher’s duel much of the way, thanks to Mitchell Harding for the Panthers and Aric McAtee for the Mocs. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the fifth when a wild pitch allowed Jared DeSantolo to score and a sacrifice fly by Joe Raffaele made it 2-0 Florida Southern.
The favor was returned in the top of the seventh when McAtee threw a wild pitch allowing Diego Garcia to score, and making it 2-1. Garcia reached on a fielder’s choice earlier in the inning. A balk and a walk followed, but reliever Ryan Langford got out of the inning and kept the Panthers from tying the game.
Harding got the first out in the seventh but back-to-back singles forced coach Jeff Tam to call on Noah Steckley out of the bullpen. Steckley got the two outs he needed and kept the deficit at one.
Harding (3-2) went 6 ⅓ innings for the Panthers allowing two earned runs on six hits. He struck out two and did not walk a batter. He threw 88 pitches (56 strikes).
FSC got an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Nathan Chevalier singled, and there was a Panthers error allowing Jeff Liquori to score. Hayden Kimball walked with two outs in the ninth but was left there as the Panthers dropped game one, amassing only five hits in the contest.
For more info: Florida Tech @ FSC Box Score (Game 1)
Game two saw Panthers starter Justin Lorenz struggle early and the Panthers were chasing the game throughout. Florida Tech certainly hurt themselves, committing five errors in game two, after booting two in game one. Not what you expect from the top fielding team in the Sunshine State Conference.
Jeff Liquori led off the bottom of the first with a home run and he was back to do it again in the bottom of the second with a two-run blast, giving the Mocs a 3-0 lead. That was the end of the day for Lorenz, who was relieved by Samuel Orozco. Connor Berry’s RBI double scored Nathan Chevalier, capping the three-run inning for the home team. A sac fly by Jose Cortez in the bottom of the third made it 5-0.
The Panthers (24-9, 8-7 SSC) got on the board in the top of the fifth when Alec Eldridge singled and later scored on a Dylan Dohanos single. Liquori had to leave the game just before that Dohanos hit as he collided with Sam Schner at first base. Liquori did seem okay, as he was giving balls to the umpire for the rest of the game.
Ryan Jenkins hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fifth giving FSC a seemingly comfortable 7-1 lead. It did not end up being comfortable.
Brant Brown came on in relief for Florida Southern in the sixth and immediately got into trouble. He walked Jakob Newton and Brett Parrish sacrificed him to second. After a walk to Josh Ford, a wild pitch got him to second. Eldridge walked to load the bases and Garcia singled home a run, making it 7-2. Kimball followed with a two-run single to cut the Mocs lead to 7-4.
Florida Tech would add a run in the seventh when Newton walked to start the inning and was chased home later in the inning after an Eldridge knock, cutting the FSC lead to 7-5.
Jenkins struck again in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI double and went to third on an error. He would later score on a Seth Cannady single, pushing the lead to 9-5.
The Panthers weren’t sone. They got a double from Kimball to start the inning and after Schner got him to third, he came home on a Dohanos sac fly. Paul Castillo followed with a walk and came in on Newton’s double. That made it 9-7, but the Panthers could not push anything more across, leaving the bases loaded.
Garcia’s two-out double brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth, but Kimball flew out to end the game.
For more info: Florida Tech @ FSC Box Score (Game 2)
The Panthers will look to rebound Tuesday night when they travel to St. Augustine to take on Flagler in a non-conference regional contest. The Panthers won the first meeting between these two teams back on February 15 when Dohanos hit a walk-off double.
The first pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.