PENSACOLA, FL - Thomas Spinelli pitched 3.1 scoreless innings in relief and Leo Rodriguez picked up his second-straight save as Florida Southern College baseball overcame an early two-run deficit to defeat West Florida, 6-5, on Sunday afternoon at Jim Spooner Field. The No. 5 Moccasins (2-1) raced out to a 3-0 lead after two innings, but the Argonauts (1-2) struck for three runs in the bottom of the second and two more in the third to take a 5-3 lead.
However, Spinelli and two other relievers combined to toss six scoreless innings, and the Mocs score one run in the fifth and two more in the seventh to take two of three from West Florida on the opening weekend of play. The Moccasins open their home slate on Tuesday with a 6 p.m., non-conference contest with Eckerd at Henley Field.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Florida Southern got off to a lightning-fast start when Dylan Costa singled to right center on an 0-2 count to lead things off and Pablo Cabrera drew a walk in the next at-bat to set things up for Zach Scott, who brought Costa around to score with a an RBI-single to left. Although the Moccasins were unable to score again in the inning, they would tack on two more in the second after starter Jacob Kelley sat down the Argos in order in the bottom of the first.
- After the first two batters of the inning were retired for Southern in the second, back-to-back errors by the Argonauts put runners on first and second with two outs and Cabrera plated a pair of runs as he brought in Costa and Vaun Brown on a single to left to give Florida Southern a 3-0 lead.
- The game would take a turn in UWF's favor in the bottom of the second when the Argos had four-straight batters reach base. Joey Bend got the rally started for West Florida with a one-out double to right center and came around to score on Dylan Menhennett's double two batters later.
- An error by Cabrera during the next at-bat allowed Robert Lopez to score and Menhennett to advance to third. Bryant Harris plated the game-tying run when he hit a sac fly to bring Menhennett home. Kelley was able to get out of the inning by inducing a fly ball to center field, but the score stood 3-3 after two innings of play.
- When Florida Southern went down in order to start the third, the Argonauts took advantage by plating two in the bottom half of the inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, Menhennett lined a single to left to bring around two runners and give UWF a 5-3 lead.
- The Mocs got one back in the fifth when Zach Diewert singled to center to make it 5-4 and took the lead in the seventh when Cabrera scored on an error and Isaiah Cullum's RBI double made it 6-5. Spinelli was lifted in the seventh after allowing one hit in 3.1 scoreless innings of relief and Ryan Langford bridged the gap to Rodriguez by giving up just one hit and no runs in 1.2 innings.
- Rodriguez entered in the ninth and struck out the first batter he faced before putting the tying run on when Estrada knocked a one-out single to left. But the Argos were shut down after that as Rodriguez struck out the final two batters to slam the door shut.
- The Moccasins finished with seven hits and one error while striking out seven times. West Florida tallied eight hits, but committed four errors and struck out eight times. Spinelli (1-0) picked up the win by allowing no runs on one hit in 3.1 innings with two walks and four strikeouts. Rodriguez picked up his second save of the year, and UWF's Jared Hatch was saddled with the loss after allowing a pair of runs on two hits in 4.2 innings of work.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern improved to 26-20 all-time against West Florida, including a 10-11 mark when facing the Argos on the road. The opening-weekend series marked the third-straight year that the Mocs and Argonauts have opened the season against each other. The teams have met on opening weekend in five of the past six seasons.
- Rodriguez picked up the ninth save of his career to move into eighth place in school history in career saves. Cabrera finished the weekend with five hits to move to 174 for his career. He needs 54 more to move into the top-10 in school history in career hits.
- The victory over West Florida on Sunday marked the seventh-straight, three-game non-conference series that the Moccasins have won dating back to the start of the 2017 season. The Mocs are a combined 48-9 in non-conference action, including the postseason, since the start of the 2017 campaign.
- Florida Southern opens its home slate with a non-conference contest against Eckerd at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5, at Henley Field.