LAKELAND, FL - Carson King, Chase Pilato, and Leo Rodriguez combined for the first no-hitter in nearly 20 years as Florida Southern College baseball opened its home slate with a 3-0 victory over Eckerd in a non-conference contest on Tuesday night at Henley Field. The No. 5 Moccasins (3-1) scored in the bottom of the first, and it would prove to be the only run they would need as the Tritons (1-3) were held without a baserunner over the final six innings of action.
King, who was tabbed for his first career start on Tuesday, allowed three walks in the first inning but finished strong by recording six strikeouts in four innings to earn the win. Pilato struck out two over four hitless innings of work, and Rodriguez recorded his third-straight save to close things out. Jacob Teter (1-for-3) drove in two runs and Vaun Brown picked up an RBI as the Mocs pounded out 10 hits.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- King got off to a shaky start in the first inning when he walked the first batter he faced, but fellow freshman Cody Duke fired a laser to second base to throw out Eckerd's Sam Cochrane on a steal attempt to erase the leadoff runner. After walking the next batter the Tritons nearly put on another as Mitch Calandra lined a shot up the middle, but King was able to deflect the ball with his glove and Dylan Costa fired on to first for the second out. After a walk to the fourth batter of the inning to put two men on, King blew a fastball past Chase Acuff to record the third out.
- Costa would get Southern started in the bottom of the first when he hit an infield single and advanced to second on a throwing error by the shortstop. After Pablo Cabrera walked in the next at-bat the Mocs put on a successful double steal and, despite Zach Scott striking out, had runners in scoring position with one away. Teter would then hit a sacrifice fly to left and Cabrera would be thrown out at third for the final out, but not before Costa crossed the plate to make it 1-0.
- King settled into a groove in the second by striking out the side, but with runners on first and second and two away in the bottom of the third, Vaun Brown struck out as the Mocs were unable to extend their lead. Eckerd would get one more runner on base in the top of the third when King walked the leadoff batter but got out of the inning by recording a strikeout and a double play.
- The game remained scoreless and without any baserunners until the bottom half of the sixth when the Mocs had two on with one out following a pair of singles from Cabrera and Scott. However, a strikeout and a pop up would end the scoring threat, but Florida Southern did put a run on the board in the seventh on Brown's sacrifice fly to left and tacked on an insurance run when Teter lined a single to left to bring Cabrera in from third.
- The no-hit bid was almost lost in the eighth inning, but Zach Diewert made an incredible diving grab in right field with one out to keep the no-hitter intact. After tossing four scoreless innings in relief Pilato was lifted for Moccasin closer Leo Rodriguez, who promptly struck out the first batter of the ninth and recorded a pair of flyouts to finish the game.
- Florida Southern saw eighth different players pick up a hit as Cabrera and Costa had two each. Teter drove in his fourth run of the season, and the Moccasin pitching staff sat down 21 batters in a row after the leadoff walk in the third.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
- Florida Southern improved to 145-37 all-time against Eckerd including an 80-14 mark when facing the Tritons at home. The Moccasins have defeated Eckerd in each of the last 13 meetings between the two schools.
- The no-hitter was the first for Florida Southern since 2001, when J.C. Barnett no-hit Florida Tech on the road on April 7, 2001. Barnett's performance was also the only perfect game in Florida Southern history. Tuesday's performance was the first no-hitter for the Mocs at Henley Field since Phil Harris tossed a nine-inning no-hitter against Merrimack on March 19, 1995. It is the first combined no-hitter in program history.
- King became the second Moccasin in two years to earn a win in his first career start as a freshman. J.J. Niekro picked up the victory in the first start of his freshman season on March 7, 2017, a 6-3 win over Eckerd.
- Cabrera increased his career hit total to 176 and needs just 52 more to move into the top 10 in school history in career hits. Moccasin head coach Lance Niekro picked up the 190th win of his career and needs 10 more to hit 200 for his career.
- Florida Southern is off for 10 days before beginning a three-game series at USC Aiken (Feb. 15-17). The Mocs return home to face Merrimack on Feb. 21, and open Sunshine State Conference action at home against Barry in a three-game series (Feb. 22-23).