Mocs Down Rollins 9-2 to Give Coach Lance Niekro his 100th Career Win

Mocs Down Rollins 9-2 to Give Coach Lance Niekro his 100th Career Win

WINTER PARK – Cameron Hanes struck out four and scattered five hits in six shutout innings while his teammates collected 14 hits as 7th-ranked Florida Southern downed Rollins, 9-2, in game two to salvage a split of a Sunshine State Conference doubleheader here Saturday at Alfond Stadium. The host Tars won game one, 5-3.

The win by Florida Southern gives Coach Lance Niekro his 100th career victory with the Moccasins. The fourth-year head coach now has a record of 100-79 at the school.

Hanes set down the side in order in the first before Mike Purcell doubled to lead off the second. Two outs later, Skip Kovar singled to center field, but Purcell was thrown trying to score on the play by centerfielder Sam Machonis. The Tars loaded the bases with two outs in the third, but Hanes got Purcell to foul out to third base to end the threat.

Florida Southern (25-9 overall and 8-4 in the SSC) got on the board in the third as Logan Browning and Machonis hit back-to-back singles to lead off the inning and to chase starter Matt Hendricks (1-2). Reliever Josh Stewart uncorked a wild pitch with Browning scoring when the Tars catcher threw the ball wildly to third. Machonis would score on an infield ground out for a 2-0 FSC lead.

In the fifth, Browning, Machonis, and Mitch Reeves hit consecutive doubles to start the inning while one out later, Dominic Brugnoni added another double to put the Moccasins up 5-0. It was yet another double, this time off the bat of Shawn Sanders that gave the Mocs a solo run in the seventh.

Rollins (21-16 and 6-9) got both of their runs in the bottom of the seventh inning on four base hits.

Florida Southern got the runs back in the top of the ninth with five straight singles from Brugnoni, Sanders, Blake Swann, Kevin Fuller and Pablo Cabrera for the final 9-2 margin.

Reeves finished with three hits in game two while Browning, Machonis, Brugnoni and Sander all had two hits as eight of the nine Moccasin starters got base hits.

Reliever Brady Arenson worked the final 2-1/3 innings for Florida Southern, holding the Tars scoreless on one hit with four strikeouts.

In game one, Peter Nicoletto hit a pair of home runs to power Rollins to a 5-3 win.

The Tars scored three runs in the second, combining two walks and four straight singles off Browning (3-2), the Moccasin starter. Nicoletto homered with one out in the third and the Tars added a solo run in the fourth on a walk and three singles. The damage could have been worse, but Tyler Knowles came on in relief of Browning with the bases loaded and struck out three straight batters. Nicoletto added a second solo shot in the seventh.

Florida Southern was held to just to singles over the the first six innings – a single by Reeves in the first and an infield single by Brugnoni in the fourth.

The Moccasins finally broke through in the sixth as Brugnoni collected his second of the game and Sanders reached on an error. Two outs later, Cabrera brought home both runners with a single to right field. The Tars went to the their bullpen and Hendricks came in and promptly picked the runner off first to end the rally. 

Florida Southern threatened with one out in the ninth as Sanders and David Lugo each singled to put runners on first and third. Pinch-hitter Walker Burgess doubled in Sanders with a shot down the left field line while Lugo advanced to third. Hendricks got a strike out and a fly out to pick up his sixth save of the season.

The Moccasins continue with the 10-straight road game part of their schedule playing a three-game series April 15-17 at the University of South Carolina-Aiken.