TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (April 15, 2013) - Playing just 48 hours after winning the Panhandle Conference Championship, top-ranked Tallahassee Community College was unable to ride the momentum to another victory and dropped a 9-6 decision to Pensacola State College.
Tallahassee is now 40-7 on the season and 14-3 in PC play. Pensacola State improved to 18-25-1 (5-10).
Trailing 9-2 and down to its final three outs, Tallahassee scored four runs in the ninth and brought the winning run to the plate but Kevin Cruz lined out to left to end the game. The final rally ended with the bases loaded, the last of 11 runners stranded by the Eagles.
Tallahassee ace Nick Deckert (8-1) was dealt his first loss of the season after allowing five earned runs and eight hits over four-plus innings.
The Pirates only needed two swings to do most of their damage against the Eagle lefty. Toby Thomas' two-run homer in the second got Pensacola State on the board and started a three-run inning. In the fifth, another two-run shot, this one by Hayden Kelly, extended the Pirates' lead to 5-1 and knocked Deckert out of the game.
Pensacola State tacked on another run in the fifth to open up a 6-1 lead.
In between, Tallahassee failed to convert on a pair of golden opportunities against Pensacola State starter Jake Hansen.
Tallahassee loaded the bases with nobody out in the third, but came up empty. After Cody Borup was retired at home on a fielder's choice, Trent Higginbothem grounded to Hunter Black, who stepped on the bag at third and threw on to first to complete the inning-ending double play.
The Eagles loaded the bases again in the fourth, this time with one out, but could only manage one run - Hansen hit Borup to bring home Tyler York, who led off the inning with a double.
Pensacola State scored three runs in the eighth to take a 9-2 lead. Then things got interesting during the Eagles' final at-bat.
After Cruz was retired to lead off the inning, pitcher Ethan Bornstein delivered a pinch-hit double down the right field line. Three batters later, Clay Fenwick's bases-loaded single scored Bornstein and Ethan Petrey.
Later in the inning, a fielder's choice plated Chad Mabini and James Abbatinozzi's infield single brought home Higginbothem to cut Pensacola State's lead to 9-6.
The Pirates outhit Tallahassee, 14-8, led by Thomas, who was 4-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBI. Kelly, Taylor Eads, Brett Casteel and Chris Scura had two hits each.
Fenwick went 2-for-5 with three RBI to lead the Eagles. Mabini was 2-for-4 and scored twice.
The teams will conclude their season series on Wednesday in Pensacola. The game, originally scheduled for 6 p.m. eastern, has been moved up to a 5 p.m. eastern first pitch.