Coach Copeland Picks Up Win #200 With
Suns Win Over St. Leo
Florida Christian College Head Baseball Coach, Jon Copeland, picked up career head coaching victory number 200 Friday night as the host Suns downed the Lions from St Leo University, 8-5. Copeland has had previous, very successful, head coaching duties at other institutions prior to taking over the reins of, and initiating, the first-year baseball program at FCC. “Reaching 200 is a testament to the grace of God. During my career as a head coach, He has blessed me with talented players and assistant coaches”, stated Copeland, “This win is especially memorable because of the way our players performed and the quality of the opponent”. In a season of firsts for the inaugural program the Suns picked up their first win over a NCAA Division II opponent. Their previous victories have been over NAIA competition. The Lions from St. Leo entered Friday night’s contest on a 4-game winning streak and as one of the top DII teams in the southeast, with impressive wins already over perennial national powers Florida Southern and Valdosta State.
The Suns spotted St. Leo a 4-run lead after the first frame, but then starter, Brent Hodge (Fr., Mainland HS) settled down and allowed only one more remaining run over the next 3 innings. The Suns began their 13-hit parade for the night in the 2nd inning as catcher, Carlos Guzman (So., Lakeland CC) began the inning with a single, DH Johnnie Melito (RS Fr., Florida A&M) followed with a double that plated Guzman. Second baseman, Andres Cancio (Fr., Cypress Creek HS) brought home Melito with a double of his own, and later scored on a ground out to bring FCC back to within one run of the Lions. St. Leo added their final run in the 3rd inning, but FCC answered with 2 more runs in the bottom of the inning to tie the score at 5-5; and then added single runs in the 5th, 6th and 8th innings to pull away from the Lions. The FCC bullpen proved to be too much for St. Leo as Kyle Harding (Fr., Island Coast HS), Eric Santamaria (Fr., Miami Christian HS) and Cancio combined to hold St. Leo scoreless over the final 5 innings. Harding picked up the win, his first collegiate victory; while Cancio picked up the save.
Melito, Guzman, Mark Vidal (So., Daytona State), and Harry Amadeo (Fr., Cypress Creek HS) led the Suns attack with two hits apiece; with Melito clubbing in 3 RBI’s. The big bat on the night, however, belonged to Cancio as he collected three hits with three RBI’s, and in addition to his double, he also added a solo home run, a blast that cleared the left field fence at historic Tinker Field, with room to spare.
Cancio gets Player of the Week nod: Andres Cancio picked up POW recognition for last week in part for his 3-4, 3 RBI and the save performance against St. Leo.
This week: The Suns host Florida Memorial University on Tuesday at 6pm at Tinker Field. Then FCC travels to Clearwater Christian College on Saturday for a DH that begins at 1pm, and opens up South Region play for both programs.
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