LAKELAND - Florida Southern extended its win streak to three straight games here Tuesday evening as they posted a 13-9 victory over 16th-ranked Flagler in a non-conference game at historic Henley Field.
With the victory, the Mocs moved their record over .500 on the season as they improved to 18-17 overall and picked up its third consecutive win over a nationally-ranked foe as they took two out of three games last weekend at then 23rd-ranked Saint Leo. Flagler fell to 28-11 on the season.
The Moccasins' win was keyed by a 17 hit attack, including a 5-for-5 night with three runs scored and 4 RBIs from senior third baseman Chris Dennis (Rockledge, Fla.). In addition to Dennis' 5-for-5 night at the plate, junior centerfielder Sam Machonis (Tampa, Fla.) was 3-for-6 with three runs scored at the top of the line-up and junior second baseman Shawn Sanders (Citra, Fla.) and senior shortstop Casey Eddinger (Crawfordville, Fla.) each had two hits in the victory.
FSC opened the game's scoring by scoring four runs on four hits in the bottom of the first inning. The Mocs first hitters reached base and all four scored to give the Mocs a 4-0 lead. Dennis drove home the first run on a single, junior catcher Blake Swann (Live Oak, Fla.) brought the second run on a sacrifice fly and the next two runs came home on wild pitches from Michael Maiocco, who relieved Flagler starter Jarrod Widdows, who faced four batters in first appearance of the season and didn't record an out.
The Saints, though, would answer with four runs in the top of the second to tie the game at 4-all. The big hit in the inning was a 2-run double by Andrew Brodbeck off of sophomore A.J. Smith (Merritt Island, Fla.).
FSC would extend its lead to 8-4 in the bottom of the second inning as they recorded four hits and took advantage of a Saints error to score four runs. The Mocs scored its first run on a throwing error by Flagler catcher Jabe Molinaro, added its second run on an RBI double by Dennis and junior rightfielder Jhalan Jackson (Winter Haven, Fla.) drove home the next two runs on his RBI single up the middle. The two RBIs pushed his season total to a team-best 50.
The Mocs leads grew to 12-4 in the bottom of the fourth inning as FSC recorded five hits and scored four runs. Dennis brought home the inning's first run on his RBI single to right and sophomore first baseman Jason Sierra (Sarasota, Fla.) hit a 3-run homer over the fence in center to complete the inning's scoring. The homer by Sierra was his third of the season and the 36th of the season for the Mocs.
Flagler scored two runs in the fifth inning on a 2-run double to left by Skylar Fox and added three runs in the sixth inning to pull within 12-9.
The Mocs, though, would add an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning on an RBI single by Dennis. The four RBIs by Dennis tied his career high.
Smith picked up the win on the mound as he was the winning pitcher as the Mocs threw four pitchers in Tuesday's contest. Smith (4-1) allowed six hits and four runs (three earned), while walking one and striking out none in two innings of work. Junior Jason Carmichael (Cape Coral, Fla.) pitched the next three innings and allowed six hits and five runs, while walking three and striking out one.
The next two Moccasin pitchers, seniors Austin Barnett (Lakeland, Fla.) and Casey Eskew (Sarasota, Fla.), combined to allow just three hits and no runs in four innings of work. Barnett would walk one and tie a career high with four strikeouts.
Flagler finished the night with 15 hits as Fox and Lorenzo Butler each had three hits, while Brodbeck, Nick Kranick and Todd Juliano each had two hits in the loss.
Maiocco (5-4) took the loss for the Saints as he pitched 3.1 innings and allowed eight hits, seven runs (six earned runs), while walking none and striking out none.
The Mocs will return to Sunshine State Conference action this weekend as they host Eckerd in a three-game series at Henley Field. The series will begin with a nine inning game on Friday, April 17 at 6 p.m., before concluding the series with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 18 beginning at 1 p.m.