Early Hole Too Much For Bucs In Season Ending Loss

The Bucs celebrate Michael McAloose's 2nd inning home run (Photo by Tom Hagerty)
The Bucs celebrate Michael McAloose's 2nd inning home run (Photo by Tom Hagerty)
TAMPA, Fla.- The #19 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers saw their 2024 season come to an end Saturday afternoon in Tampa as an early 6-2 deficit was too much to overcome in an 8-3 loss to #10 Indian River in the FCSAA State Tournament. FSW finishes the season 37-21. 
The Bucs couldn't have scripted a better start to the game as Justin Thomas singled back up the middle and stole second before trotting home on an RBI double from Victor Figueroa to put them up 1-0 before their first out was recorded.  
The lead was short lived though as Indian River took all the momentum right back in the bottom of the 1st as they strung together six consecutive one out hits to score four runs and quickly take their first lead of the game at 4-1. 
The Bucs loudest swing of the day came to lead off the 2nd as Michael McAloose unloaded on a solo shot to left to get the Bucs back to within two at 4-2. 
The Bucs went to the bullpen in the 2nd inning and Abel Albarran was able to put up a zero for them and FSW had a chance to draw even in the 3rd as they put two on with nobody out, but three straight pop outs ended the threat and kept the Pioneers in front 4-2. 
Indian River added to their lead in the 4th, getting a pair of hits to start the inning and push a run across before getting their second run of the frame on a groundout later in the inning to extend their lead to 6-2. 
The Bucs took advantage of an Indian River error in the 5th to score an unearned run on a groundout from Evan Kircher, but they couldn't make it hurt any more than that as a strikeout and a groundout ended the threat with the tying run on deck and kept the Pioneers in front 6-3 midway through. 
Three straight hits for Indian River to start the 5th put the Pioneers up 7-3 and back to back fly balls advanced runners including one home on a sac fly to up their lead to 8-3. 
The Bucs bullpen held the Pioneers from there, but unfortunately for FSW, their offense couldn't pull them back into the game against the Indian River pen. The Bucs left two on in the 7th and another in the 9th but couldn't score as the Pioneers finished off an 8-3 win to end the Bucs 2024 season. 
Figueroa finished 3-4 with a double and an RBI in the loss, finishing the season with a .421 average and 79 RBIs, both new FSW program single season records. Thomas was 1-4 and scored twice in his final game as a Buc, finishing the season with 86 runs scored, shattering the previous record of 62. Josiah Velazquez, Ryan Grzesiak, and Landon O'Donnell were a bright spot out of the FSW bullpen in the loss, combining to go three shutout innings, allowing just one hit while striking out five. Jordan Huskey was collared with the loss, allowing six hits and four runs in just one innings pitched to fall to 7-5 on the year. 
The Bucs see their season come to a close at 37-21 while Indian River advances in the State Tournament after their 40th win of the season.