LAKELAND, Fla. — After scoring 43 runs in a midweek season-opening doubleheader, UNA’s baseball team got a dose of humility this weekend.
In each half of a doubleheader at Florida Southern on Saturday, the Lions fell behind early and closed the gap only to fade again. UNA (2-3), which lost the series opener Friday night, dropped Saturday’s first game 7-4 and fell 8-4 in the nightcap while being swept in the three-game series.
The weekend marked the first time UNA has been swept in its last 23 three-game series, dating back to 2010 at Lambuth.
“Each game was almost identical,” Lions coach Mike Keehn said. “We got behind early then got close but they expand the lead. We could never put anything together.”
Florida Southern (4-7) jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the opening game with three runs on three hits in the first inning off UNA starter Michael Watkins. The big blow was a two-run home run by catcher Brad Carlton.
UNA made it 3-2 in the top of third on Dylan Boston’s two-run single. The Moccasins added a run in the bottom of the inning, but UNA tied it at 4 on a Boston RBI double and a run-scoring single by Drew Humphrey.
Florida Southern answered with two runs in the bottom of the fifth and another in the seventh.
Watkins (0-1) took the loss, allowing six runs on nine hits over five innings.
In the nightcap, Florida Southern scored four runs in its first at-bat against first-time starter Cade Medley.
Boston belted a two-run homer and third baseman Andrew Almon, who also shined defensively in the series, added a solo shot during a three-run UNA second.
FSC got a solo homer in the bottom of the inning, but UNA responded with a solo home run by Josh Cyr in the third to make it 5-4. The Moccasins pulled away with a three-run sixth.
Medley (0-1) took the loss, giving up seven runs on eight hits in 5 1/3 innings. Brantley Claunch pitched allowed a run on three hits in 2/3 innings of relief.
“(FSC) plays in a conference with a lot of quality clubs, and against teams like that your mistakes amplified or it might show you’re not quite ready,” said Keehn, whose team plays at Montevallo on Wednesday at 2 p.m.
“Once we settled in, our starters pitched well, but they all had one inning trying to find it, putting stuff over the plate. We needed to win at least one game but really needed to win the series to help down the road in the region. That’s what’s most disappointing.”