Gardner's Blasts Power Bucs Past Spartans

Joel Gardner (Photo by Linwood Ferguson/
Joel Gardner (Photo by Linwood Ferguson/
FORT MYERS, Fla.- Two swings of the bat from big lefty Joel Gardner was all the Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers needed Tuesday afternoon at Buccaneers Park in Fort Myers as Gardner cracked a pair of home runs and drove in five in a 10-2 win over the visiting Elgin Spartans. 
The Bucs got it done early and often Tuesday as Sergio Rivera once again began the Bucs half of the 1st with a bang, ripping a double down the left field line and two batters later Joel Gardner launched a three run home run deep and out to right center to quickly put FSW ahead 3-0.  Later in the inning Yariel Diaz singled through the left side to bring home another FSW run to give the Bucs a 4-0 lead at the end of one inning of action.  
Elgin got to the Bucs pitching staff for the first and only time in the 4th inning, using an FSW error to begin the frame to extend the inning and score a pair of unearned runs to cut the Bucs lead in half at 4-2. 
The Bucs answered right away as Johnnie Lopez was hit by a pitch and moved around the bases and scored on a pair of wild pitches and a stolen base to make it 5-2 and two batters later Gardner cranked his second home run of the day out to nearly the same spot as his first, for a two run shot to stretch the Bucs lead to 7-2 at the end of four. 
A successful double steal for the Bucs netted them a run in the 5th and an RBI single from Anthony Westbrook pushed another tally across in the 6th to make it 9-2. 
Jahir Perez worked his second straight scoreless frame in the top of the 7th before stretch time and FSW added their tenth and final run of the game on a sac fly from AJ Shaver in the bottom half of the frame to make it 10-2.  
The Bucs didn't score again, but they didn't need to as Reyn Watson tossed a scoreless 8th and then a scoreless 9th to finish it off as FSW closed out a 10-2 win. 
Gardner was the story for the Bucs, going 2-3 with two home runs and five RBIs in the win while fellow West Virginia transfer Isaac Upole earned the win on the mound going three shutout innings, allowing just one hit to improve to 3-1 on the year.  
FSW improves to 18-10 on the year with the win while Elgin drops their opening game of their trip to the Sunshine State as they fall to 0-2.  
The Bucs begin a huge early season Southern Conference series with #20 Miami Dade on Wednesday in Miami before the series shifts to Fort Myers for a Friday afternoon contest at Buccaneers Park.