Tallahassee, FL - Saturday began and ended with a celebration on the turf of Eagle Field. In between, Tallahassee Community College dropped a 6-3 decision to Gulf Coast State College to open the final series of the Panhandle Conference season.
Prior to the game, Tallahassee recognized a 14-member sophomore class who was playing their final PC home game. Afterwards, the team was recognized for winning the 2013 PC Championship - players and coaches received commemorative PC Champions t-shirts.
After giving up a first-inning run, Gulf Coast State's Brandon McCarthy pitched into the eighth and exited with a 4-1 lead. He allowed only three hits but the last of his seven walks put the leadoff man on in the eighth and signaled the end of his afternoon.
A one-out error put two runners on and a wild pitch by reliever Brandon Leach moved both into scoring position.
Trent Higginbothem singled home Anthony Torres, and Tyler York flied out to left, scoring Clay Fenwick to cut the Commodores' lead to 4-3.
Gulf Coast State got both runs back in the top of the ninth and survived a Tallahassee rally in the bottom half to maintain a share of second place in the PC standings. The Commodores remain tied with Chipola College, who defeated Pensacola State College, 4-0, on Saturday. Both teams are 9-8 in league play with three games remaining, including a season-ending two-game series.
Tallahassee, who wrapped up the PC Championship a week ago, ran a quartet of sophomore arms to the mound before handing the ball to freshman Chad Mabini with one out and two on in the ninth.
Ethan Bornstein started and was saddled with the loss for Tallahassee.
After a quiet first inning, Bornstein allowed four straight hits to open the second. Back-to-back singles by Ty Downing and Danny Aviles plated the first two runs of the inning. The first of three double plays turned by the Eagles brought home another run, but helped stem the Commodores' momentum in the process.
Tyler Dial drew a leadoff walk to open the third and later scored on Downing's bloop single down the right field line. By then, Bornstein had given way to Nick Deckert.
Tallahassee (41-8, 15-4) and Gulf Coast State will play the back end of the home-and-home series at 2 p.m. eastern Sunday in Panama City, Fla.