Tallahassee - A passed ball in the bottom of the eighth inning allowed Quincy Nieporte to race home from third with what proved to be the winning run and help NJCAA No. 16/FCSAA No. 4 Tallahassee Community College complete an improbable comeback in a 12-11 win over NJCAA No. 5 Chattahoochee Valley (Ala.) Community College on Sunday afternoon at Eagle Field.
Nieporte's run capped a rally that began with none on and two outs and allowed the Eagles to sweep the weekend series against the Pirates (14-4).
Earlier in the eighth, Christian Dicks tied the game at 11-all when he took Chris Brown's 3-0 pitch the opposite way for a home run over the right field fence.
Tallahassee rallied from deficits of 3-0 and 7-1 to grab an 8-7 lead in the fifth but handed it right back to Chattahoochee Valley an inning later when Cam Sperry blasted a three-run homer off reliever Riley Hodge.
The Pirates added another run in the seventh to take an 11-8 lead, but this was a day when no lead proved to be safe.
And it was an unlikely hero who started Tallahassee's game-winning rally.
The oft-used Dillon Jayne, who entered Sunday's game with just one hit in 12 at-bats on the season, hit a two-run, pinch-hit homer in the bottom of the seventh to pull the Eagles within a run.
Jayne's hit loomed even larger after the events of the eighth inning.
In the top half, Kyle Pausche, who started at first base, came on in relief, issued consecutive walks to load the bases then struck out James Cunningham to end the inning and keep the Pirates' lead at a run.
Dicks' homer in the bottom half was Tallahassee's third of the game. Ryne Willard erased the Eagles' largest deficit with a three-run shot in the fourth to knot things at 7-7.
Following Dicks' game-tying shot, Nieporte drew a walk. The next batter, Pausche, struck out but the inning stayed alive when catcher Jake Maziar mishandled the third strike, allowing Pausche to reach base and Nieporte to advance to third. With Jayne at the plate, another pitch got away from Maziar and Nieporte took off for home with no hesitation.
Connor O'Brien, Tallahassee's sixth pitcher of the game, came on in the ninth and retired the Pirates in order to notch his second save in as many days.
Pausche (3-0) earned the win with 0.2 innings of work.
Starter Micah Dunn lasted only 0.2 innings and was charged with three runs. Ben Levine, who recorded the final out in the first, gave up three straight hits to start the second and was charged with three of the Pirates' four second-inning runs.
Collin Strall and Hodge combined to work 6.1 innings in relief.
Offensively, Johnny Blue Craig went 3-for-5, scored two runs and drove in one to pace the Eagles' 12-hit attack.
D.J. McKnight was 2-for-4 with an RBI, Dicks was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI and Pausche was 2-for-5 with two runs scored.
Now 17-5, the Eagles will host Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College for a four-game series. The teams will play doubleheaders on Monday and Tuesday. The action begins at 3:30 p.m. both days.