Marianna, FL - Needing a win to avoid a three-game sweep against FCSAA No. 2/NJCAA No. 8 Chipola College, FCSAA No. 1/NJCAA No. 4 Tallahassee Community College did just that on Saturday, defeating the Indians, 7-4, in Panhandle Conference baseball action.
Tallahassee (31-8) is now 3-3 in PC play, one game behind Chipola (25-7), who dropped to 4-2. Northwest Florida State College, the Eagles' next opponent, is 3-0 after completing a sweep of Pensacola State College (1-5) on Saturday.
As Saturday's game neared the halfway point, an Indians sweep was looking like a possibility. Chipola led 3-1, and Tallahassee had managed only one hit through four innings.
Adonis Hernandez, who pitched three shutout innings in Chipola's game one victory on Wednesday, took over for starter Palmer Betts after just 0.1 innings and promptly retired the first 11 batters he faced.
Things changed abruptly in the fifth once leadoff batter Cody Borup reached on a throwing error by second baseman Cody Lanford.
Matt Olive doubled to move Borup to third and he scored when pinch hitter Johnny Blue Craig singled up the middle. After a passed ball scored Olive to tie the game at 3-all, Ryne Willard hit a go-ahead two-run homer, his sixth, over the left field fence.
After Hernandez hit the next batter, Bobby Rice, his day was over. Chris Mosely came on and recorded one out and, before the inning ended, the ball was handed to Tom Watson, who tossed the next four innings.
The score remained 5-3 into the ninth when the Eagles plated a couple of insurance runs. Consecutive errors by Lanford and shortstop Kevin Santa put two runners on with nobody out. Following a perfectly executed sac-bunt by Rice, D.J. McKnight doubled to deep right, scoring both Craig and Willard to push Tallahassee's lead to four.
McKnight went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three RBI. His first-inning double scored Willard to give the Eagles a 1-0 lead.
Chipola made things interesting in its final at-bat against Logan Elliot, who walked one batter and hit two others to start the inning. After consecutive lineouts, he walked home a run which brought the winning run to the plate but Ian Rice flied out to right to end the game.
Elliot pitched the final three innings to save the game for Connor O'Brien, who tossed 3.2 innings in middle relief. Will Thompson started and went 2.1 innings.
Tallahassee opens a three-game series against Northwest Florida State at 5 p.m. Monday at Eagle Field.