MELBOURNE, Fla. – The Barry Buccaneers were forced to wait until Saturday to complete the first game of a conference showdown with the Panthers of Florida Tech, but the Bucs used the break to take a pair of games Saturday, 14-8 and 6-4.
The series opener came to a halt on Friday night with the Bucs (25-16, 6-11 SSC) trailing 3-2 in the fourth inning as storms hit the eastern Florida coast. Friday night, Adrian Benitez threw three innings and allowed three runs while striking out six, but gave way to Nate Greve on Saturday afternoon.
Barry trailed 4-3 in the top of the sixth when Greg Brodzinski reached base on an errant throw that landed him on second to start the frame. Following a Ramon Valdez walk and a sacrifice bunt that moved both runners into scoring position, Mike Diaz tied the game at 4-4 with an RBI sac-fly to center. Branden Shaw then singled up the middle to drive in Valdez and the Bucs took a 5-4 lead.
The Panthers (24-18, 8-11 SSC) answered with a four run rally in the bottom of the sixth to grab a short-lived three run lead in what turned into a back and forth ball game.
Neither team was able to push across any runs in the eighth or ninth and the game that had started on Friday night eventually made its way into the 11th inning where the Bucs seized complete control.
Sheehan Planas-Arteaga led off with a single and walks to Adrian English and Tyler Kellmann loaded the bases for the Buccaneers. Brodzinski belted a bases-clearing double to left center to drive in all three runs and give Barry a three-run lead, but the Bucs weren’t finished just yet. Pinch-hitter Luis Rios-Reyes was hit by a pitch and Khalil Denson drew a walk to load the bases once again. Shaw picked up his second RBI single of the game, up the middle for the second time, to push across another run and J.C. Cardenas’ two-RBI single through the left side capped a six-run rally for the Buccaneers who held on to win, 14-8.
Tyler Petsch (2-1) earned the win for the Buccaneers in 1.1 innings of work without allowing a run, but left-hander Joeanthony Rivera was critical down the stretch, tossing 4.1 innings of scoreless ball to keep the Bucs a chance down the stretch to pick up a victory.
Barry belted 16 hits in game one and Planas-Arteaga, English and Brodzinski led the offense with three hits each, while Kellmann and Brodzinski also drove in three runs apiece as well.
In the nightcap the Panthers took the lead in the fourth after three scoreless frames with a pair of runs with a Jimmie Koch solo-shot and Andrew Barttlet’s RBI double to center.
Both teams traded runs in the fifth, but the Bucs took a one-run lead in the top of the sixth with a three-run rally. Planas-Arteaga singled and English walked to set the table for Kellmann who blasted a homer to right center, his fourth of the season, to give Barry the 4-3 lead.
However, Florida Tech answered with a run in the bottom of the sixth, scoring on a wild pitch to even the game at 4-4.
Planas-Arteaga and English got things started with back-to-back walks and then advanced to second and third on a wild pitch. The Panthers intentionally walked Kellmann to load the bases and Brodzinksi following a Brodzinski line-out, Valdez pushed a run across when he was hit by a pitch. Now with a one run lead, Denson worked a 14 pitch at-bat to draw another bases-loaded walk and the Bucs added an insurance run to grab a 6-4 lead.
The insurance run proved to be unnecessary for Luis Deville who worked a quick ninth and the Bucs took game two by a final score of 6-4. Deville (2-0) struck out five in 3.1 innings in relief of Calvin Rayburn who pitched 5.2 innings, allowed four runs and also finished with 5 K’s.
Planas-Arteaga finished with a multi-hit game in the nightcap and Carlos Matamoros also chipped in a 2-for-3 night and drove in a run in the Buccaneer win.
The Bucs and Panthers will play the series finale Sunday scheduled for seven innings with first pitch set for 12 noon.