Posted: Jan 28, 2020
NORTH PORT, Fla.- The #20 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers couldn't manage to string enough hits together for a comeback Tuesday night on the road at CoolToday Park in North Port, eventually falling 6-2 to Suncoast Conference rival State College of Florida in what was a non-conference matchup to open the 2020 season for the two teams.
It was a good start on the mound for the Bucs as Enrique Cotto worked a quick 1-2-3 first and Robert Wegielnik put up a zero in the second, thanks in part to a perfect throw from Cameran Brantley in right to gun down a runner at the plate to end the inning as the game remained scoreless through two innings of play.
The Bucs struck first, and in a big way, as freshman Axel Melendez started his collegiate career with a bang, crushing a 2-1 pitch over the right field wall in his first at bat to give FSW a 1-0 lead. It looked like the Bucs may have another run later in the inning, but like FSW did in the second, the Manatees threw a Bucs runner out at the plate to end the frame and keep it a 1-0 game.
The Bucs first error of the season cost them a run in the bottom of the inning as the Manatees leveled the score at one on a two out mistake by the Purple and Aqua on the infield.
SCF manufactured a run in the fourth to take the lead, getting a pair of singles and then a fly out to advance the runners, a walk to load the bases, and then a sacrifice fly to go ahead 2-1 after four complete.
Back for his sophomore season after turning down the Chicago Cubs, who selected him in the 2019 Major League Baseball Draft, FSW righthander Marc Davis flashed electric stuff in the fifth, striking out a pair to keep it a 2-1 game.
It looked like the Bucs were going to retake the lead in the sixth as Tommy Joseph worked a seven pitch walk to leadoff the inning and moved into scoring position with one out when Warnner Rincones singled to left. The Bucs got two tough breaks after that as Drake Dobyanski hit one on the button to right and Brantley did the same to left, but both were caught and it stayed a 2-1 game as the Mantees came to hit in the bottom of the inning.
With momentum on their side, the Manatees packed on in the sixth, getting a leadoff walk and an RBI double to make it a 3-1 game and then extended their lead to 6-1 on a bases loaded walk and a two run single on a two out, 0-2 pitch to cushion their lead to five.
Both sides went six up, six down in the next two innings as Brendan Koester and Alan Mercado worked scoreless frames for the Bucs to keep it a 6-1 game.
FSW battled to the end, picking up their second run of the game on an SCF error in the ninth, but it was too little too late as a strikeout ended the game with the Mantees taking the opener 6-2.
SCF outhit FSW 9-7 on the night with Rincones leading the offense with a pair of hits and Melendez picking up the Bucs only RBI of the contest. FSW used seven pitchers on the night with Cotto, Davis, Koester, and Mercado all firing scoreless frames. Danny Galvan took the loss, allowing four runs on two hits and three walks in 2/3 of an inning pitched.
The Bucs are back in action on Friday when they open their home schedule against ASA Miami at 4 PM in the Marissa Gusto Memorial Tournament at City of Palms Park in Downtown Fort Myers.