Emma Hamrick, Sports Editor
With a Triple Crown winner manning first base, MLB All-Stars scattered throughout the batting lineup, and a team that reached the postseason in four of the past five season on the field, the competition the Mocs faced on Feb. 29 was not the standard SSC team. Instead of taking the field at Henley Field, the team traveled down the street to Joker Marchant Stadium to face the Detroit Tigers for the annual spring training exhibition game.
While the Mocs were defeated by the Tigers 7-2, the Mocs were able to play a close game with the Tigers through seven innings.
“Any time you can hang around a major league team for any amount of innings, even if it’s for one inning, it is a positive,” head coach Lance Niekro said in an interview with FSCMocs.com.
The Mocs tied the Tigers a two runs in the sixth inning after senior centerfielder Sam Machonis circled the bases following a solo homerun to right-centerfield.
“We go into the game knowing it’s just for fun. We don’t at all expect to win. If we did, it would mean the Tigers are in trouble,” Machonis said.
Sophomore right fielder Logan Browning and Machonis reached base in the fourth inning after being walked back to back by reliever Jairo Labourt. Browning scored on an RBI single by junior third baseman Mitch Reeves.
The Mocs hung with the Tigers until the seventh inning when Jacoby Jones’ three-run homer broke open the game.The Tigers would go on to out-hit the Mocs 13-3.
The Mocs pitching arsenal combined for a total of four strikeouts and four walks while the Mocs defense recorded two errors.
Machonis rounded out his game by contributing defensively by throwing out Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesis when he tried to take third base on a flyout to Machonis.
“You don’t read into this game too much with it being an exhibition, but I would imagine the guys are feeling pretty good. It was a pretty good game,” Nierko said.
The Mocs will return to Henley Field March 6 to take on Minn. St. Mankato at 1 p.m.