Bucs Run Past Panthers In Midweek Tilt

Jared Davis (Photo by Bill Parmeter)
Jared Davis (Photo by Bill Parmeter)
FORT MYERS, Fla.- The #16 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers took care of business Tuesday afternoon at home at Buccaneers Park, jumping out to an early lead and cruising to an 8-3 win over the visiting South Florida State Panthers to improve to 29-14 on the year. 
The Panthers struck first, getting a pair of walks, a wild pitch, and a ground ball to get on the board without a hit in the 1st to take an early 1-0 lead. 
The Bucs responded immediately as Justin Thomas walked and swiftly stole second base before coming home on a gap shot double from Victor Figueroa to even the game at 1 apiece. Later in the inning Michael McAloose slapped a single through the right side to drive Figueroa home and give FSW a 2-1 lead after one. 
FSW added to their lead right away in the 2nd as Evan Kircher launched a solo home run to begin the Bucs half of the inning to make it 3-1 at the end of two complete innings of play. 
The Bucs lost a fly ball in the sun that went for a triple for the Panthers in the 3rd and it turned into a run on a wild pitch to cut their lead to 3-2, but they got that run back and another in the bottom half of the frame to make it a 5-2 game in favor of the Bucs after three. 
Josiah Velazquez worked a quick 1-2-3 inning for the Bucs on the mound in the top of the 4th and the Bucs offense was right back at it in the bottom half of the inning as Cooper Clapp lined a single to right to lead off the inning before Nate Earley went the other way for his 16th home run of the season to up the Bucs lead to 7-2 as the teams went to the 5th.  
South Florida State scored without putting the ball in play in the 6th inning, using a walk, a hit batter, and two wild pitches to bring a run home to make it a 7-3 game after 5 1/2. 
Earley got the run back for the Bucs after stretch time with a two out RBI knock to right to make it 8-3 and that was the end of the scoring in the contest as Ryan Grzesiak worked out of trouble in both the 8th and 9th to finish things off and give the Bucs an 8-3 win. 
The Bucs outhit the Panthers 10-5 on the afternoon with Earley leading the way with a 2-4, three RBI effort while Thomas remained red hot with another multi-hit game at the top of the order, going 2-3 with two runs scored for FSW. Velazquez earned the win on the mound, going two scoreless innings to improve to 3-2 on the year. 
FSW improves to 29-14 overall on the year with the win while South Florida State falls to 20-22. 
The Bucs are back in action on Thursday when they begin a big three game Citrus Conference series at home against Central Florida beginning at 3 PM.