February 25, 2014 at 5:33 pm

Tigers 12, Florida Southern College 0

Steven Moya, Robbie Ray impress as Tigers blow past Florida Southern in spring opener

Lakeland. Fla. — It’s a game a major-league team should win.

Not to mention being a game that a good major-league team should win easily.

And that’s what the Tigers did Tuesday when they won their annual exhibition game against Florida Southern College, 12-0, at Joker Marchant Stadium.

Outfielder Steven Moya was the hitting star for the Tigers with a two-run double and a two-run triple. Daniel Fields and Eugenio Suarez chipped in with solo home runs.

Of the 6-foot-6 Moya, manager Brad Ausmus said, “I definitely want to see him play, but I want to see everybody play. He’s had some impressive batting practices with a classic left-handed swing.

“He’s athletic for a big guy, and he certainly swung the bat well today.”

The victory gave the Tigers a 25-1-2 record against Florida Southern in the 28 games the two teams have played against each other. The lone loss occurred in 1986, with the ties coming in 1992 and 2005.

Seven Tigers’ pitchers combined to blank Florida Southern on three hits, with the tone being set by first two pitchers the Tigers used because they each threw two innings each.

Starter Drew VerHagen worked two hitless innings and Robbie Ray, one of the players acquired in the Doug Fister deal with the Nationals, also pitched two scoreless innings, striking out five of the six batters he faced.

Other Tigers’ hitters having a good game were outfielder Tyler Collins, who went 3-for-3, and handyman Steve Lombardozzi, who had two hits in two at-bats, one of them a smash up the middle off the leg of a Florida Southern pitcher, knocking him out of the game.

Of the victory, Ausmus said, “It’s good to start knocking the rust off. The thing that stood out by far to me was the base-running. The guys were aggressive.

“They were coming out of the box hard, even on non-hits. That was good to see.”

About VerHagen, a prospect the Tigers are high about, Ausmus said, “His stuff looked good and he had good mound presence.”

Ray also impressed Ausmus.

“He has a sneaky fastball,” the manager said. “That helps.”



Tigers manager Brad Ausmus, right, congratulates Jose Iglesias and Steve Lombardozzi after they score on a double by Steven Moya in the third inning Tuesday in Lakeland, Fla. / Robin Buckson / Detroit News