FORT MYERS, FLA.- With a 10-3 win over Polk State Monday night at City of Palms Park in Fort Myers, the #13 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers have punched their first ticket to the FCSAA/Region VIII Tournament next week and have clinched at least a share of their first Suncoast Conference Championship in the process.
It was all Bucs Ball in the first for FSW as they loaded the bases without a hit and scored on a groundout to put a tally up in the runs column before they had their first knock of the game to take a 1-0 lead. Their first hit of the game was an RBI single from Victor Florentino to make it a 2-0 contest and after a hit batter loaded the bases back up, Shamir Morales slashed a double down the right field line to clear the bases and give the Bucs a commanding 5-0 lead that they would never relinquish.
Three singles for the Eagles in the third got them back into the ballgame as they cut the Buccaneer lead to 5-2 before a solo blast from FSW first baseman Tyler Solomon in the fourth pushed the lead back to four at 6-2 after four complete.
FSW blew the game open for good in the fifth as Jose Marcano doubled home a run with a double to make it 7-2 and after a wild pitch that ended up in the Bucs dugout extended the lead to 8-2, Morales came up big with his second run scoring double of the night to stretch it to a 9-2 contest. A bloop single from Solomon plated Morales with two outs in the inning to cap off a four run FSW frame to give the Bucs a 10-2 lead after five.
That was all that FSW starter Mitch Myers and the Buccaneer bullpen needed as Myers worked through seven for the second straight start before handing it off to Joey Mugavero and Marc Davis who stymied the Eagles in the eighth and ninth to lock down a 10-3 win for the home team.
The win clinches a playoff spot for the Bucs for the first time since their respawn in 2016.
FSW outhit Polk 9-8 and it was the bottom of the Bucs order that did the damage as Morales and Solomon combined to go 5 for 8 with six RBI's in the victory. Myers earned his team leading seventh win of the year, going seven complete, allowing seven hits and three runs, two earned, while striking out eight. Mugavero and Davis faced the minimum in the final two innings including Davis punching out the side to close the game out.
The Bucs improve to 39-12 overall on the year and earn their 20th conference victory for the first time in program history. Polk State falls to 24-28 overall and 11-18 in league action.
The two teams will wrap up the regular season on Wednesday in Winter Haven where FSW will look for their first outright conference title in program history. They can do so with a win or with a Hillsborough win over State College of Florida Wednesday in Bradenton.
The Bucs will play in the FCSAA/Region VIII Tournament next Thursday, May 10th at either 1 or 4 PM depending on their seed.