Bucs Take Season Opener with Strong Effort On the Mound

Photo by Brad Young (BradYoungPhoto.com)
Photo by Brad Young (BradYoungPhoto.com)

FORT MYERS, FLA.- Things went to script for Florida SouthWestern first year Head Coach Ben Bizier in his Buccaneer debut on Friday as Mitch Myers, Rafael Santos, and Ryan Gusto stymied the ASA Miami bats for nine innings as the Bucs took their 2019 season opener 3-1 over the Silver Storm.  

ASA came out swinging, picking up two hits on the first three pitches of the game and eventually manufacturing a run on a double steal to take a 1-0 lead before the Bucs had a chance to bat.  

FSW quickly answered in the bottom of the second, using a leadoff walk and an ASA error to set the table for Shamir Morales who drove home the equalizer on a groundout to short to tie the game at one after two.  

Both starters settled in from there as Mitch Myers retired all six hitters he faced in the third and fourth and the Silver Storm's Aneuris Yael Salas-Pena worked out of a pair of jams to keep the score tied at one through four.  

Both teams went to their bullpens in the fifth and the Bucs were the first to strike.  Tommy Joseph singled to start the FSW fifth and Victor Florentino sliced one down the right field line to put two runners in scoring position for the Bucs with one out.  Jose Marcano just missed a 2-1 pitch, but lifted it deep enough to score Joseph from third to put FSW in front for the first time on the night at 2-1. 

ASA left a man in scoring position in the sixth and FSW followed suit in their half of the frame and the two again stranded runners in the seventh to quickly send the game to the eighth with the score still 2-1 in favor of the Bucs.  

With a dozen Major League scouts looking on, FSW flamethrower Ryan Gusto punched out the side in the top of the eighth and the Bucs added an insurance run in the bottom half of the inning on a wild pitch to make it a 3-1 contest.  

Gusto didn't need the extra run though, fanning his fourth straight hitter to begin the ninth before getting a pair of pop outs on the infield to close it out to give the Bucs a 3-1 win in the opener. 

ASA outhit the Bucs 7-6 on the night, but FSW took advantage of eight free passes from Silver Storm pitching in the win.  Six different players recorded a hit for the Bucs while Thomas Bennett reached base three times on the night, all via the free pass. Santos earned his first win of the season and 10th of his NJCAA career, spinning a pair of scoreless innings, while Gusto was the story out of the FSW bullpen, firing three scoreless with five strikeouts to earn a save.  

The Bucs and Silver Storm will be back after it on Saturday at the Historic City of Palms Park as they will play a twinbill beginning at 1:00.