LAKELAND - Florida Southern jumped out to an 8-0 lead and then held off a late rally to defeat Tampa, 8-7, to capture the NCAA Division II South Region Tournament Championship. The Moccasins now advance to the NCAA national tournament May 26-June 2 in Cary, N.C. The Moccasins erupted for seven runs in the fourth inning and watched as Tampa chipped away at the lead. One day after reliever J.T. Hintzen made his first career start and pitch a complete game, Logan Browning came on the in the eighth inning and then struck out the side in the ninth to pick up his first career save in his first career relief appearance.
The Moccasins will take a 42-9-1 record into the national championship after winning their 21st South Region tournament championship. Florida Southern is the top seed for the eight-team national tournament and will take on eighth-seeded Southern Indiana (36-21) on Saturday, May 26 at 7 p.m. at the USA Baseball National Training Center.
The rest of the field includes #2 Columbus State (45-13), #3 UC San Diego (42-15), #4 Southern New Hampshire (39-15); #5 Augustana (48-9); #6 Texas A&M Kingsville (41-15), and #7 Mercyhurst (36-13).
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Jacob Teter gave the Moccasins a 1-0 lead in the top of the second with a solo home run, his 12th round-tripper of the season and second of the tournament.
- Florida Southern sent 11 men to the plate in the fourth inning, scoring seven runs off three Tampa pictures. Hayden Marze and Teter opened the frame by drawing back-to-back walks off Spartan starter, Clay Helvey. Christian Maglich singled of reliever Cheyne Bickel for one run while Dylan Costa doubled off the base of the right-field fence to drive in two more runs. Cody Burgess and Pablo Cabrera then hit back-to-back singles while Austin Mauer and Omar Villaman each had consecutive RBI-doubles the Moccasins took an 8-0 lead.
- Tampa (42-11) got one run back in the bottom of the inning on two singles and two walks off Moccasin starter Thomas Spinelli.
- The Spartans scored three times in the sixth on four hits, including a two-run double by Danny Maynard to cut the FSC lead to 8-4.
- Tampa hit three doubles in the seventh for two more runs to creep within two, 8-6, and then added a solo run in the bottom of the eighth off Browning to slice the lead to one, 8-7.
- Browning came back out in the ninth to strike out the side to send the Moccasins to the national tournament.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern is now 150-78 in 42nd NCAA postseason appearances. Both the 150 wins and 42 postseason trips are tops in the NCAA Division II. With two wins in their last two games of the regional over Tampa, the Moccasins are now 111-100 in the all-time series against the Spartans, including a 19-22 mark in the postseason.
- Teter's homer in the second is the 73rd hit by the Moccasins this season, third-most in program history. FSC hit a school-record 81 homers last season.
- Burgess had three hits to lead an 11-hit Florida Southern attack while Villaman and Costa each had two hits.
- Matt Martin picked up the win to improve to 4-1.