BOCA RATON - Florida Southern concluded its 2015 season here Wednesday afternoon as they fell 7-6 to 13th-ranked Lynn in the second game of its Sunshine State Conference doubleheader at the Lynn Baseball Field.
With the setback, the Moccasins conclude the season with a 22-23 overall record and a 10-14 mark in the SSC, while Lynn improved to 34-13-1 overall and 14-9-1 in the league. In addition, the Fighting Knights were also able to secure a series victory as they took both ends of Wednesday's doubleheader after the Mocs opened the series with a 17-4 win on Monday.
Despite the Wednesday's loss in the season finale, the Mocs did make some history in the game as junior rightfielder Jhalan Jackson (Winter Haven, Fla.) and junior third baseman Chris Dennis (Rockledge, Fla.) became the first set of Moccasin teammates to finish a season hitting over .400 since 1985 when Bobby Green and Mike Workman concluded the year hitting .424 and .419 respectively.
This season, Jackson finished the 2015 season hitting a team-best .417 as he recorded 73 hits in 175 at-bats and also had 13 doubles, two triples, a team-best 20 home runs and drove home 72 runs, while Dennis hit .405 on the year as he led the team in hits (77), runs scored (53), doubles (17) and was second in RBI (40) and struck just seven times in 190 at-bats.
In addition, Jackson and Dennis are just the 17th and 18th Moccasins in school history to hit .400 or better in a season and the first to accomplish that feat since Nick Diyorio hit .408 in 2006. It also marks the fourth time in school history that a set of teammates have hit .400 or better in the same season.
The Mocs concluded the nightcap of Wednesday's doubleheader with eight hits as Dennis had two hits and scored two runs, while Jackson had one hit and added an RBI to his season total. With his six hits in 10 at-bats in the series against Lynn, Jackson also established a new single season mark for slugging percentage as he finishes the 2015 campaign with an .857 mark, which bettered the old mark of .814 set by Green in 1985.
Lynn got the scoring started in the nightcap of the doubleheader as they used a hit batsman, a walk and a single by Alex DeBellis to plate the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning off of Moccasin junior starter Brady Arenson (Glenview, Ill.).
The Mocs tied the game in the fourth on a lead-off homer off the bat of junior second baseman Shawn Sanders (Citra, Fla.). The homer was the fifth of the season for Sanders.
Lynn retook the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on an RBI double by Michael Stemle.
The Fighting Knights increased their lead to 3-1 in the fifth inning as they took advantage of two hits and a fielding error by Moccasin senior left fielder Kyle Richards (Groton, Conn.) to score an unearned run off of Arenson.
Lynn's lead grew to 4-1 in the sixth inning thanks to a single, a ground out and an RBI double off the bat of Matt Ackerman.
The Mocs would find the scoreboard again in the seventh inning thanks to three consecutive singles, including a run scoring single through the right side by sophomore first baseman Jason Sierra (Sarasota, Fla.). Following Sierra's single, Lynn's starting pitcher Max Watt would strike out junior designated hitter Blake Swann (Live Oak, Fla.) and then walk Richards to load the bases. The walk to Richards chased Watt from the game and the Fighting Knights brought in Kyle Schindler to pitch from the bullpen and he prevented further damage by striking out the final two Moc hitters he faced to leave the bases loaded.
Lynn, though, would add two more runs to its lead in the bottom of the seventh thanks to a 2-run homer off by Ben Schwanburg off of Moccasin reliever Austin Barnett (Lakeland, Fla.). Barnett replaced Arenson on the mound at the beginning of the seventh inning.
Arenson, who threw 101 pitches in Wednesday's game, threw six innings and allowed seven hits and four runs (three earned), while walking four and striking out one.
Trailing 6-2 heading into the eighth inning, the Mocs rallied to tie the game at 6 after recording two hits and scoring four runs in the inning. The first run came in on a bases loaded sacrifice fly by Jackson and then Sierra followed with a 3-run homer over the fence in left field off of Schindler. The homer by Sierra was his sixth of the season and the Mocs 53rd on the year.
Lynn would retake the lead in the bottom of the eighth inning thanks to a two-out RBI single through the left side by DeBellis with runners on second and third. Barnett, though, would prevent further damage as he struck out Matt Tietz to end the inning.
The Fighting Knights would then work around an error in the ninth to seal the win and help Bill Mendek collect his ninth save of the season.
Jonathan Wake (2-0) earned the win as he relieved Schindler in the eighth inning and faced one batter.
Barnett (5-3) took the loss for the Mocs as he pitched two innings in his final collegiate game and allowed four hits and three runs, while walking two and striking out two.
Sierra had the big bat for the Mocs in the nightcap as he was 3-for-4 at the plate with 4 RBI. In addition to Sierra, Dennis and Jackson, Sanders and senior catcher Joey Miller (Sarasota, Fla.) also had hits in the game.
Lynn, who recorded 11 hits in the win, was paced offensively by a 3-for-5 effort at the plate by DeBellis, while Thomas Kain, Kyle Carter and Stemle each had two hits in the victory.
Wednesday's games marked the final contest for the Moccasins' 10-member senior class. FSC's 10 seniors this year are Barnett, Dennis, Miller, Richards, outfielder Colton Davis (Lake Wales, Fla.), shortstop Casey Eddinger (Crawfordville, Fla.), pitcher Casey Eskew (Sarasota, Fla.), pitcher Jerrod Flanagan (St. Petersburg, Fla.), outfielder Trevor Freeman (Shalimar, Fla.) and pitcher Jake Popovich (Danville, Calif.).