#TCCSoftball: Moncus pitches Eagles to split with NWF State

Raya Moncus
Photo courtesy of Greg Rowland

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (March 28, 2017) – Tallahassee Community College picked up a split with nationally-ranked Northwest Florida State College on Tuesday in Panhandle Conference softball action. 

The Eagles knocked off the NJCAA No. 14 Raiders 5-1 in game one before suffering a 22-3 loss in game two. 

With the split, Tallahassee (2-8 PC) moved into a fourth-place tie with idle Pensacola State College in the league standings. The Eagles also picked up a game on third-place Gulf Coast State College (5-5), who dropped a pair of games to Chipola College. 

Tallahassee played, arguably, its most complete game of the season in the opener. The Eagles tallied 12 hits while sophomore lefty Raya Moncus scattered six hits and two walks in the complete-game victory. 

Not to be outdone, it was the Eagles' defense that made the first big play of the game. 

With runners on first and second and nobody out in the top of the first, Tori Robinson hit a chopper up the middle that had eyes on centerfield. Shortstop Samantha Malik gloved it, however, stepped on the bag at second for the force and threw out Robinson by a half step at first to complete the double play. One batter later, Moncus was out of the inning unscathed. 

Tallahassee then used a two-out rally in its first at-bat to get on the board. 

With nobody on, a single by Elisa Cecchetti and Casey Durham's double put two runners in scoring position. Malik singled to shallow center, scoring Cecchetti and Durham scored when first baseman Mari Pereia mishandled a grounder off the bat of Brandie Callaway

Tallahassee carried the 2-0 lead to the fourth when the Raiders broke through against Moncus. 

Back-to-back doubles by Robinson and Paige Johnson resulted in Northwest Florida State's first run of the game. A walk and hit batsman eventually loaded the bases but, with two outs, Moncus struck out Danielle Gomez to escape further damage. 

Aided by another Raider error, the Eagles got the run back in their half of the fourth. 

After Kacie Dobyanski led off the inning with a single, Alycia Smith entered the game as a pinch runner. The next batter, Cassidy Strickling, doubled to the gap in right center and when Kristan Lizardi bobbled the ball on the warning track, it allowed the speedy Smith, who never broke stride, to score all the way from first. 

Callaway's fifth-inning triple scored Alyssa NeSmith to increase the Eagles' lead to 4-1 then Moncus delivered another Houdini act in the sixth. 

Northwest Florida State loaded the bases with nobody out but the next three batters failed to get the ball out of the infield – Brianna Ernst lined out to third baseman Kristin Gunter, Samantha Kummer's grounder to Dobyanski at second ended with Johnson being forced out at home, and pinch hitter Beatriz Cardoza popped up to Malik. 

Tallahassee added an insurance run in the sixth when Gunter led off the inning with her tenth home run of the season. 

All but one starter in the Tallahassee lineup recorded a hit and NeSmith, who was 0-for-2, walked twice and scored a run. 

Cecchetti led the way, going 3-for-4. Malik was 2-for-3 with an RBI. Callaway was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.

In game two, Northwest Florida State scored 13 runs in its first at-bat en route to the 22-3, five-inning victory. The Raiders collected 11 of their 20 hits in the first inning while sending 17 batters to the plate. 

Jewliana Castillo took the loss for Tallahassee. 

The Eagles will return to action on Saturday when they travel to Chipola for a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m. eastern.