Comeback Bid Comes Up Short For FSW In Series Opener

Cooper Clapp (Photo by Roy Allen)
Cooper Clapp (Photo by Roy Allen)
FORT MYERS, Fla.- The Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers suffered a 5-4 loss to the Eastern Florida State Titans Thursday afternoon at home at Buccaneers Park in Fort Myers, fighting back from a 5-1 deficit to make it a one run game late, but couldn't come up with the equalizer as they fell to 20-12 on the year. 
Eastern struck first, using a one out walk and a two out single to plate the game's first run and take a 1-0 lead in the top half of the 1st inning.  
The Bucs answered right away as Michael McAloose drilled a two out RBI single through the left side to even the game at a run a piece, but they left the bases loaded on a strikeout to keep it a 1-1 game at the end of one inning of action. 
An FSW error in the 2nd allowed Eastern to score a pair of unearned runs, giving the Titans the lead back 3-1 at the end of an inning and a half. 
The Bucs had a chance to do the same to the Titans in the bottom half of the inning when an Eastern error extended the frame for FSW, but a fly out ended the inning with two ducks left on the pond as Eastern held their 3-1 lead after two. 
Runners left on continued to be an issue for the Bucs as they stranded two more in the 3rd and another in the 4th as the score remained 3-1 Eastern through five. 
Bucs starter Landen Burch shook off a slow start to work through six innings on the mound, but again the Bucs offense couldn't draw even as back to back foul outs ended the 6th with a runner on to keep it a 3-1 game in favor of the Titans into the 7th. 
Eastern manufactured runs in the 7th and 8th to extend their lead to 5-1 as time began to run out on the home team. 
Jared Davis beathed some life into the Bucs in the 8th with a solo home run to start the inning and later in the frame Cooper Clapp launched a two run bomb to right to get FSW back to within one at 5-4.  
Nate Ward worked a quick 1-2-3 top of the 9th for the Bucs on the mound to keep it a one run game and give FSW a chance to walk it off in the bottom of the 9th. 
After two quick outs to start the bottom of the 9th, Eastern gave the Bucs a chance with an error on what would have been the third out and then gifted the Bucs a runner to scoring position with a wild pitch, but a strikeout ended the inning and the game with the Bucs 10th stranded runner of the contest on the bases to close out the afternoon. 
FSW finished with just five hits in the loss. Eric Blair reached three times, going 1-2 with a pair of walks. Burch suffered the loss on the mound, going six innings and allowing five hits and three runs, just one earned, while striking out six to fall to 1-2 on the year.  
The Bucs fell for the third time in their past four games, dropping to 20-12 overall and 11-5 in Citrus Conference play where they remain tied for first.  Eastern Florida improves to 16-15-1 on the year and 7-9 in league play with the victory. 
The two teams will try to play through the raindrops on Saturday in Melbourne with a doubleheader scheduled for 1 PM.