TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 23, 2016) – Tallahassee Community College's baseball team kept its season alive on Saturday with a 2-0 win over Northwest Florida State College in the Eagles' home finale.
Tallahassee (34-17, 8-11 Panhandle Conference) leads Northwest Florida State (32-18, 7-12) by one game heading into Sunday's regular season finale, but the Eagles must knock off the Raiders one more time to claim the PC's Wild Card berth.
If Northwest Florida State wins, the teams will finish with identical conference records, but Tallahassee would miss out on the postseason by virtue of losing the head-to-head tie-breaker.
Tallahassee can think about Sunday thanks in large part to the arm of freshman right-hander Brooks Buckler (3-1), who went 7.2 innings before handing the ball to Skyler Arias who recorded the four-out save, his first.
Tallahassee's pitching duo outdueled Northwest Florida State's Jarrett Montgomery, who went the distance in the loss. Montgomery allowed only six hits and struck out eight, but a two-out rally in the bottom of the first proved to be the difference on Saturday.
After retiring the Eagles' first two batters of the afternoon, Montgomery walked Zach Featherstone to keep the inning alive. Two batters later, Tallahassee had a 2-0 lead.
Kyle Cavanaugh doubled down the right field line to advance Featherstone to third. The next batter, Ethan Crout, singled to left, scoring Featherstone while Cavanaugh rounded third to set up a bang-bang play at the plate. But Northwest Florida State catcher Handsome Monica couldn't come up with the throw, and Cavanaugh slid in safely for the Eagles' second run.
Montgomery allowed only four hits over the next seven innings, but the damage was done.
Buckler and Arias did the rest.
Buckler allowed only one base runner through the first five innings – a hit-batsman in the fourth who was promptly retired on a 6-4-3 double play.
Buckler no-hit the Raiders for 5.2 innings before consecutive singles put the tying runs on base. He responded, however, and retired Hunter Tackett on a fly out to center to end the threat.
In the seventh, a one-out single brought the tying run to the plate, but Shawn Feltner hit a grounder to shortstop Deyvid Silva, who stepped on the bag at second and threw on to first to complete the double play and end the Raiders' at-bat.
Buckler retired the first two batters in the eighth but allowed a single then third baseman Mac Wilson bobbled a grounder to put the tying runs on base and initiate a visit from head coach Mike McLeod.
After a lengthy conversation, McLeod opted for Arias, who promptly struck out Mack Hathcock to end the inning.
Arias allowed a two-out single in the ninth, but Feltner flied out to Featherstone in left to end the game.
Buckler allowed four hits and struck out six over 7.2 innings while Arias allowed one hit and added two strikeouts in his 1.1 innings of work. Neither pitcher walked a batter.
Wilson had two of the Eagles' six hits. Crout was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Sunday's game begins at 2 p.m. eastern.
Nick Marchese, whose 4-2 record includes a win over Northwest Florida State on April 4, is expected to start for the Eagles.