Panama City, FL - After defeating Gulf Coast State College on Friday, Tallahassee Community College head coach Mike McLeod said he'd have plenty of arms available for the final two games of the teams' three-game series.
Even so, it's not likely McLeod envisioned the scenario that unfolded Saturday when the series shifted to Gulf Coast State's Bill Frazier Field.
Tallahassee overcame an early 6-1 deficit and eventually claimed an 11-8 win in 15 innings to run its record to 10-1 in Panhandle Conference play.
With the win, PC-leading Tallahassee (36-5) clinched another series victory - its fourth straight - and increased its lead over second-place Gulf Coast State (26-12, 5-3) to 3.5 games with nine games remaining. The Eagles will go for the series sweep when the teams return to Tallahassee for a 5 p.m. game on Monday.
Saturday marked Tallahassee's fifth come-from-behind victory in league play and second in extra innings.
After Gulf Coast State tied the game at 8-all with a run in the bottom of the eighth, neither team scored over the next six innings. Finally, in the top of the 15th, the Eagles broke through against Matt Miller, the Commodores' fifth pitcher of the afternoon.
Consecutive singles by Cody Borup, Matt Bahnick and Chad Mabini loaded the bases for Clay Fenwick, whose sac-fly brought home Borup with what proved to be the winning run. The Eagles tacked on a pair of insurance runs for good measure. Tyler York's two-out single scored Bahnick from third, then Mabini came home on a double steal.
Gulf Coast State brought the tying run to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the 15th but Dan VanSickle, the Eagles' fifth pitcher, retired Tyler Dial on a fly out to left to end the game.
VanSickle pitched the final two innings to record the victory. He and fellow relievers Bradley Robbins, Ethan Bornstein and Victor Cole allowed 12 hits but walked none, struck out nine and held Gulf Coast State to just two runs over the final 12.2 innings.
Gulf Coast State scored five runs in the third to chase Tallahassee starter Jared Stanley, who lasted only 2.1 innings.
Trailing 6-1, Bahnick's solo homer with one out in the fifth started the Eagles' comeback. Later in the inning, Trent Higginbothem doubled home Mabini then scored on York's run-scoring single.
After the teams traded runs in the sixth, Tallahassee went to work again in the seventh, scoring three runs to take its first lead of the game. Higginbothem scored the go-ahead run when James Abbatinozzi reached on a fielder's choice, just beating out a potential inning-ending double-play at first.
Both teams had 15 hits on Saturday.
Mabini went 4-for-7 to lead Tallahassee. Higginbothem was 2-for-7 with two RBI and York was 2-for-5 with three RBI. Borup went 3-for-5 after entering the game in the fifth as a pinch hitter.
Miller went 6-for-7 for Gulf Coast State, including a game-tying single in the bottom of the eighth. He and Kevin Husum (3-for-7) combined for nine of the Commodores' 15 hits. By contrast, the bottom four hitters in the order were a combined 1-for-26.