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FMU Spoils Cougars Early Lead
The Cougars jumped out to an early lead behind starting pitcher Will Kirby but it wasn't enough as Florida Memorial's offense had timely hits throughout the game leading to a 9-3 victory in the series opener.
Lions starting pitcher Mike Hardison retired the first six Cougar hitters of the game, but in the third inning, third baseman Jon Rivera swung at a dropped third strike, and advanced to first base as the ball went to the back stop. Right fielder Henry Turner tried to bunt him over to second, and on the attempt he was out of the batter's box, which gave the Cougars their first out. Senior captain Ethan Barba came up next, lining a single to right field, and Rivera advanced to third as he was in motion on the pitch. With runners at the corners and one out, leadoff hitter David Edwards walked to load the bases. Sophomore Jefte Velez hit a sac fly to right field, scoring Rivera from third, giving the Cougars a 1-0 lead. Next, the other senior captain Zack Weber was hit by a pitch, loading the bases again. Barba was at third base, and stole home safely, making the score 2-0. Hardison ended the threat with one of his nine strikeouts.
Florida Memorial didn't miss a beat, starting off the next half inning with a single. Kirby induced a ground ball to third base, but was mishandled and the Cougars were only able to get one out on the play, with the runner advancing to second base. That mistake proved costly as the next hitter, left fielder Kenny Hollins, delivered a two run home run over the left field wall, tying the game at 2-2.
The Lions didn't waste any more time, coming through in the fifth, after two hits and a Cougar error, scoring two runs, and now leading 4-2.
They went on to score two runs in the sixth, one in the seventh, and two in the eighth, scoring in five consecutive innings total.
The Cougars added one in their half of the ninth, after Catcher Nate Krouse and then Rivera started the inning with back to back singles, followed by Turner reaching base on an error by the Lions second baseman.
Barba hit a sac fly to right field that scored Krouse, making the score 9-3, which was the final score.
Kirby took the loss for the Cougars, throwing six innings, not allowing any free passes, and recording five strikeouts.
Hardison picked up the win for Florida Memorial, throwing a complete game with nine strikeouts, and allowing only one earned run.
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