LAKELAND, Fla. (May 6, 2017) – St. Johns River State College scored five runs in the eighth inning to erase Tallahassee Community College's three-run lead and defeat the Eagles, 13-11, in an elimination game at the NJCAA Gulf District/FCSAA State Baseball Tournament.
Tallahassee's season ends at 28-25.
The Vikings sent 11 men to the plate in the decisive eighth inning and did all of its damage after Kerry Carpenter grounded out to start the inning. Tallahassee didn't record another out until Carpenter returned to the plate later in the inning. By then, the Eagles were on their fourth pitcher of the inning and an 11-8 lead had been erased despite only three hits in the frame by St. Johns River State.
In between, three walks, two hit-batsmen and a pair of wild pitches ultimately did in the Eagles. A bases-loaded walk tied the game, a hit-batter brought home the go-ahead run and a wild pitch scored the final run of the inning.
Jake Hunkiar (1-1), the second of the quartet of pitchers used in the eighth, took the loss for Tallahassee.
After going down in order in its half of the eighth, Tallahassee sent the tying run to the plate with two outs in the ninth but Tucker Rayburn struck out looking to end the game.
Tallahassee played long ball on Saturday, smacking a season-high four home runs despite the Major League dimensions of Joker Marchant Stadium, the Spring Training home of the Detroit Tigers.
Cole Vann's solo homer in the second got Tallahassee on the board; Josh Nothdorft hit one in the fourth to cut the Vikings' lead to 5-2. The Eagles' final two home runs came during a six-run fifth that yielded an 8-5 lead.
Jack Hartman's two-run double pulled the Eagles within a run, and he scored on Jordan Curtis' two-run shot to right to give Tallahassee its first lead of the day. Nothdorft followed with a single then Tanner Thomas homered to right to extend the Eagles' lead to three.
After St. Johns River State tied the game in its next at-bat, Tallahassee answered to regain the lead. Curtis singled to center, scoring Myron Mebane and Deyvid Silva to give the Eagles a 10-8 lead. The Vikings avoided further damage by turning one of their three double plays for the game.
Rayburn's sac-fly in the seventh scored Thomas with the Eagles' final run and gave them an 11-8 lead.
Vann went 4-for-4 to lead the Eagles' 11-hit attack. Curtis was 2-for-5 with four RBI. Nothdorft was 2-for-5. Thomas and Hartman each drove in two runs.