Bucs Take PG Opener In Extras

Michael McAloose (Photo by Roy Allen)
Michael McAloose (Photo by Roy Allen)
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla.- The Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers let a three run lead slip in the final scheduled inning against the Chattahoochee Valley Pirates Friday afternoon in their opening game of the 2023 Perfect Game Juco Classic, but rebounded with a pair in extras before closing out the Pirates 9-7 to advance to the quarterfinals on Saturday.  
The Bucs defense of their 2022 tournament crown couldn't have gotten off to much of a better start on Friday as back to back one out doubles in the top half of the 1st from Derek Williams and Joel Gardner produced runs and later in the inning Austin Douglas lined one up the box to score Gardner and make it a 3-0 game before the Pirates hit for the first time. 
A solo home run for Chattahoochee in the 2nd cut the Bucs lead to 3-1 and the Pirates took advantage of some sloppy FSW defense to score three times in the 3rd to take their first lead of the game at 4-3. 
FSW quickly tied things back up in the 4th as Sergio Rivera turned on his jets for a one out triple before scoring on an RBI groundout from Anthony Westbrook to make it a 4-4 game. 
Keelan Hoover struck out the side in his fourth and final inning of work and Lucas Hartman punched out a pair in a quick 1-2-3 bottom of the 5th for FSW to keep the score tied at 4.  
The Bucs took the lead back in the 6th without having to do too much on their own as a bases loaded balk followed by a wild pitch allowed two runs to come across without the benefit of a hit to retake a 6-4 advantage.  
Back to back doubles from Douglas and Albert Serrano to start the FSW 7th allowed the Bucs to add an insurance run to make it 7-4 and while they didn't know it at the time, they needed it. 
Two hit batters, a walk, and an infield single for Chattahoochee to begin the bottom of the 7th allowed a run to score and had the bases loaded with the go ahead run on base with nobody out in the inning. A wild pitch allowed another run to score and a groundout tied the game at 7.  The Pirates reloaded the bases with two outs with a chance to walk it off, but Hartman got a ground out to end the threat and send the game to extra innings knotted at 7. 
Starting with a runner on second base to begin the extra frame, a walk put two on with nobody out for FSW before a successful sacrifice put the two in scoring position with one down in the frame. An intentional walk loaded the bases before Aries Samek came through with the biggest hit of his early FSW career with a two run single to right to put the Bucs in front 9-7.  The Bucs couldn't get any more, but this time they didn't need it.  
Jahir Perez came in out of the FSW bullpen to close things out and he did just that.  Perez struck out the first hitter he faced before getting a line drive double play to end it, needing just seven pitches to pick up his first career save while locking down the 9-7 win for the Bucs. 
The Bucs outhit the Pirates 9-6 in the win with Rivera leading the way with two hits, including a triple, and three runs scored atop the lineup.  Douglas and Gardner each had a pair of hits including a double while Samek with 1-5 with the game winning RBIs in the 8th. 
Hoover went four innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs in a no decision while Hartman earned the win with three innings of relief before Perez earned his first career save with a scoreless 8th. 
The Bucs improve to 3-2 on the year with the win while Chattahoochee Valley remains winless at 0-3. 
The Bucs advance to the tournament quarterfinals on Saturday morning at 10:30 (CST) where they will face #14 Florence-Darlington for the second straight season.