Bucs Hang On Late In Wild State Tournament Opener

Emily Allegood (Photo by Simone Amaduzzi)
Emily Allegood (Photo by Simone Amaduzzi)
CLEARWATER, Fla.- The #3 Florida SouthWestern State Buccaneers rode the roller coaster in their FCSAA State Tournament opener against the Eastern Florida State Titans Wednesday afternoon in Clearwater, falling behind early 4-0 before coming back to take an 8-4 lead, just to hang on late with the tying runs in scoring position for an 8-6 win to move on to the tournament semifinals. 
Things got off to a rough start for the Bucs as the first four Eastern hitters in the top half of the 1st inning reached and coupled with an FSW error, the Titans had a 2-0 lead before FSW got their first out of the game. Emily Allegood came in out of the bullpen and limited the damage to that, retiring all three hitters she faced to keep it just a two run game after a half inning of play. 
The Bucs had a chance to get right back in it in the bottom of the 1st as they loaded the bases with nobody out for the middle of their order, but three straight outs in the air ended the threat with the bases still loaded as Eastern held onto a 2-0 lead after an eventful 1st inning of action. 
The Titans kept the pressure on the Bucs defense in the 2nd as they put together three hits and a hit batter to score two more runs to double their lead to 4-0 after an inning and a half. 
The Bucs got back into the game in the bottom of the 2nd as they loaded the bases for the second straight inning before Sydney McCray and Virginia Mambelli walked to force home runs and cut the Titan lead in half to 4-2. But also for the second straight frame, the Bucs left the bases loaded at inning's end as Eastern continued to lead it 4-2 after two. 
Allegood helped herself at the plate in the 3rd as she singled to lead off the Bucs half of the inning before scoring on an RBI double to the wall from Ella Moore to make it a one run game at 4-3. 
After a 1-2-3 inning from Allegood in the top of the 5th the Bucs offense took advantage of a pair of Eastern Florida errors on the infield that would have ended the inning as Nicole Edmiaston drilled a pinch hit double to the gap in right center to bring home a pair of unearned runs to give FSW their first lead of the day at 5-4 at the end of five. 
The Bucs continued to swing it in the 6th as McCray laid down a perfect bunt to reach to lead off the inning and scored on an RBI single from Mambelli through the right side to make it 6-4 FSW.  Later in the inning Skylar Brennan and Ella Moore drove in runs to pad the Bucs lead to 8-4 after six complete innings.  
Things looked like they were going to go smooth on the way to victory in the 7th as Allegood retired the first two Titan hitters of the inning quickly, but Eastern kept fighting with three straight two out singles to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate. The Bucs went to the bullpen but didn't find the relief they were looking for as an Eastern single up the middle brought home a pair of runs and put the tying run in scoring position. A second call to the pen got the Bucs what they were looking for as Esmee Ames induced a pop up to center and McCray put it away as FSW held on to beat the Titans 8-6. 
Moore led a 10 hit Buccaneer attack with her first career three hit game while Allegood contributed both offensively and in the circle, going 2-4 with a pair of runs scored while also going 6 2/3 innings to earn the win to improve to 7-0 on the year. 
FSW improves to 53-6 on the year with the win while Eastern Florida falls to 37-24. 
The Bucs advance to the State Tournament semifinals where they will take on the winner of Wednesday's Indian River/Santa Fe game Thursday night at 7 in Clearwater. Eastern will take on the game's loser with their season on the line tomorrow afternoon at 1.