Eagles rally late, take PC opener at NWF State

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NICEVILLE, Fla. (March 13, 2013) – Chad Mabini’s single in the top of the seventh inning scored Cody Borup with the go-ahead run and FCSAA No. 2 Tallahassee Community College held on for a 3-2 win at Northwest Florida State College in Wednesday’s Panhandle Conference opener.

Tallahassee (27-4), who added a pair of national rankings to its resume in the last 24 hours, has won five in a row and 17 of its last 18 overall. The Eagles are ranked No. 9 in Perfect Game’s JUCO Top 25 and No. 10 in the NJCAA’s Division 1 Baseball Poll.

On Wednesday, both teams left the field lamenting missed, albeit different, opportunities.

The Raiders committed four errors, which factored in all three Tallahassee runs, including both runs in the decisive seventh inning.

Meanwhile, the Eagles stranded 11 runners and were a paltry 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position. The lone hit, however, came at a most opportune moment.

With runners on the corners and the tying run already in, Mabini singled, scoring Borup from third, to give the Eagles a 3-2 lead.

The inning started with Northwest Florida State protecting a 2-1 lead, but a leadoff walk to Kevin Cruz preceded consecutive errors on sac-bunts by Borup and Anthony Torres. The latter scored Cruz, left runners on first and third with nobody out and set the stage for Mabini, who capped a three-hit night (3-for-4) with what proved to be the game-winning hit.

The game was far from over, however.

After three scoreless innings, Tallahassee reliever Dan VanSickle departed with one out in the bottom of the eighth after hitting Ben Craft. Eric Russell, who replaced VanSickle, hit his first batter, Scottie Peavey, to put the tying and go-ahead runs on for Northwest Florida State.

But Russell settled down and induced Chris Andrews into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to kill the rally.

After Russell issued a leadoff walk to start the Raiders’ ninth, Victor Cole came on to retire the next three batters in order and record his second save of the season.

VanSickle (2-0) picked up the win in relief of starter Jared Stanley, who allowed two runs and four hits in 4.1 innings.

Tallahassee and Northwest Florida State will continue its three-game series at Eagle Field on Friday. First pitch is at 5 p.m.

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