LAKELAND – On a night where Florida Southern scored its most runs in seven years, Sam Machonis put his name in the record book, not once but twice,and nearly made history of another kind. The junior outfielder from Tampa tied school records with six hits and six runs scored, drove in seven runs, and nearly hit for the cycle as the Moccasins beat Warner 26-13 Tuesday night at Henley Field.
The Moccasins (11-10) overcame a 6-0 deficit and had three different innings where they scored at least five runs. Nine went up in the bottom of the eighth after the Royals (11-20-1) had scored six times in the top half of the inning to pull within 17-12. It was that type of night for the two teams that combined for 39 runs, 35 hits, 12 walks and three hit batters in a game that officially took three hours and 21 minutes to complete, but also featured a 25-minute delay in the bottom of the seventh when the lights went out.
Lights out is exactly what Machonis was for the Moccasins too, as the Polk State transfer went 6-for-7 with three singles, two triples, and a home run. Even with the one out he made, Florida Southern's leadoff batter still drove in a run with a fielder's choice ground out. While falling a double short of the cycle, he picked up two extra-base hits in the Mocs' 9-run eighth with a triple and a 3-run homer that ended Florida Southern's scoring for the night.
Machonis is now the third Moccasin in team history with six hits in a single game. The first was Cris Allen, who went 6-for-6 against Lenoir-Rhyne in 1987, and the second was Scott Bikowski, who went 6-for-6 against Philadelphia in 1998. Bikowski hit for the cycle in his 6-hit game while also setting the school record with 16 total bases that night. The school record for runs that Machonis tied was set by Bobby Green against Tampa in 1985.
He wasn't the only Moccasin with a big night against Warner. Senior outfielder Trevor Freeman (Shalimar, Fla.) went 5-for-6 with two doubles, a triple, four RBI and five runs scored; senior third baseman Chris Dennis (Rockledge, Fla.) had three hits and two RBI; junior DH Jhalan Jackson (Winter Haven, Fla.) hit his seventh home run of the season; junior first baseman Blake Swann (Live Oak, Fla.) had four RBI; junior second baseman Shawn Sanders (Citra, Fla.) had two hits and two RBI; and senior shortstop Casey Eddinger had two hits and two walks. It all added up to 26 runs on 24 hits (10 for extra bases) for the Moccasins, their highest run total since April 11, 2008, when they beat Eckerd 27-3.
Lost in all of the offense was a perfect pitching performance by senior Austin Barnett (Lakeland, Fla.). Entering the game to start the fourth inning and the Mocs trailing 6-3, Barnett retired all 12 hitters he faced over the next four innings and earned the win to even his record at 1-1. He struck out four and got defensive help from Machonis and Eddinger in the seventh inning. Machonis ran down a well-hit ball in the left centerfield gap, and Eddinger went into the hole at short and made a strong throw to first to prevent another possible hit.
Early on, it was Warner doing all of the scoring as the Royals led 6-0 after 2½ innings. The Royals even managed to score twice in the second inning without a hit, using a walk, hit-by-pitch, and error and a fly ball to get those runs.
The Moccasins then began their onslaught with three runs in the bottom of the third, with Machonis' first triple of the night driving in Eddinger with their first run of the night. Machonis would also drive in the first of five runs in the bottom of the fourth, with Jackson's 2-run homer capping the inning and putting the Mocs ahead 8-6.
They tacked on four more in the fifth inning, highlighted by an RBI triple from sophomore catcher Kevin Fuller (Ocala, Fla.), Machonis' RBI fielder's choice, and an RBI double by Freeman. That gave them a 12-6 advantage and they weren't even halfway finished.
Another 5-spot showed up in the bottom of the seventh, with an RBI single by Machonis part of that one, and Swann's double providing two more. The 11-run lead was threatened, however, when the Royals scored six in the top of the eighth, which included a 2-run homer by Jordan Pike and a bases-loaded triple by Broderick Rodocker.
That's when the Mocs responded with their biggest inning of the night, scoring nine runs on eight hits in the bottom of the eighth, an inning that featured five extra-base hits, including two apiece by Machonis and Freeman.
Florida Southern returns to Sunshine State Conference play this weekend when it travels to Davie to take on Nova Southeastern. The first game is Friday night at 6 p.m., with a doubleheader scheduled for Saturday at 1p.m.