LAKELAND, Fla. (May 11, 2018) – Region 8 No. 7 Tallahassee Community College outhit top-ranked State College of Florida, 9-6. Three Eagle pitchers combined to strike out 11 batters and held the Manatees' high-scoring offense scoreless in all but one inning.
However, State College of Florida scored six runs in the second inning, sending the Manatees to a 6-2 win over the Eagles in the opening round of the NJCAA Gulf District/FCSAA State Baseball Tournament.
The loss drops Tallahassee (36-20) into Saturday's 10 a.m. elimination game against the College of Central Florida.
Justin Sorokowski (5-1), who took the loss for Tallahassee, retired the Manatees in order in the first. After allowing a leadoff double in the second, the complexion of the game experienced a sudden turn.
Second baseman Tucker Rayburn fielded Bryce Hulett's routine grounder, but his throw sailed over first baseman Alex Mills' head and into the Manatees' dugout, allowing Austin James to score the tying run. Sorokowski struck out the next batter, but a wild pitch on the third strike enabled John Pichman to reach base.
Josh Crouch's single scored two runs to put State College of Florida in front 3-1, and the Manatees eventually plated six in the inning, four of which were unearned, to put Tallahassee in five-run hole.
The Eagles got a run back in the third on Tanner Thomas' RBI-double, but that finished the scoring for both sides.
Sorokowski exited after walking the leadoff batter in the third, a move that likely keeps him available for later in the tournament. Christian Dearman (2.1 IP) and Derick Garcia (3.2 IP) did yeoman's work in relief, holding the Manatees scoreless and allowing just two hits and one walk over the final six innings.
The last of Dearman's four strikeouts was also Tallahassee's 500th on the season. Garcia struck out four.
After being retired in order in the first, the Eagles had a base runner in every inning.
Logan Lacey doubled with one out in the second and scored on Rayburn's single to put Tallahassee in front 1-0.
Lacey was 2-for-4, Rayburn for 2-for-3, and Mason Miller was 3-for-4.