LAKELAND, Fla. (April 5, 2019) – After trailing 7-0 early, Rollins had the tying run at the plate in the ninth, but couldn't get the big hit and fell to Florida Southern 9-7 Friday.
The marathon game lasted into the wee hours of the night due to weather delays and overall pace of play. Lightning moved into Lakeland in the bottom of the first and halted the game for more than two hours. Play resumed at 8:45 and the final out wasn't recorded until a few minutes before midnight.
Jack Gonzalez went 3-4 with four RBIs to lead Rollins (18-12, 6-7 SSC) at the plate. The senior blasted a two-run homer in the fourth and added a two-run double in the seventh. Jared Herron and Brendan Brundage both had two hits with Brundage knocking in a run.
Garrett Leonard took got the loss for the Tars, pitching in two and two thirds innings with six strikeouts and allowing six runs on three hits and six walks. Cameron Enck started and recorded the first out, but was shelved coming out of the weather delay. James Hoelle and Anthony Travato combined to throw a scoreless final four innings.
Jacob Teter was 3-4 at the plate with three RBIs and a homerun to highlight FSC (19-13, 5-8 SSC). Austin Huber went 2-3 at the plate and knocked in five, including a grand slam in the third.
Jacob Kelley came on after the delay got the win, allowing four runs and racking up four strikeouts. Leo Rodriguez picked up the save with two strikeouts and not allowing any runs in the ninth.
The Mocs scored in the first inning off a Teter two-RBI double. They added another to start the third and then took advantage of three walks in the frame as Huber's grand slam put the hosts up 7-0.
Gonzalez woke up the Tars offense in the fourth, blasting a two-run homer to center that also plated LaFontaine and pulled Rollins to within 7-2.
In the bottom of the fourth, Teter's solo shot advanced the Mocs lead to 8-2 and Huber knocked in another run in the fifth to make it 9-2.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Herron walked, Brundage singled and Eddie Ayala walked to load the bases. Herron scored on a wild pitch and LaFontaine drew a walk to again put duck on the pond. Gonzalez doubled down the right field line and the ball went out of play, allowing Brundage and Ayala to score and get Rollins to within 9-5.
In the top of the eighth, Rollins still didn't give up the fight. After Cameron Montgomery was plunked, Nick Santucci drew a walk and Herron singled, Brundage legged out a single to short and advanced to second on a throwing error. Both Santucci and Montgomery scored on the play to make it a 9-7 game.
Rollins got out of a jam in the bottom of the eighth, stranding two Mocs. Cameron Meehan drew a two-out walk in the ninth and put the would-be tying run at the plate in Montgomery, but the big hit didn't come.
The teams will play the second of the three-game series on Saturday, April 6 with first pitch set for 3 p.m. at Henley Field in Lakeland, Fla. Fan can catch the action live on the Tars Sports Network at RollinsSports.com.