Lakeland, FL - FCSAA No. 9 Tallahassee Community College won its sixth consecutive elimination game, defeating No. 2 St. Johns River State College, 11-5, on Sunday afternoon at the NJCAA Gulf District/FCSAA State Baseball Tournament.
Pressed into starting its day at 8 a.m. and playing back-to-back games as a result of heavy rain on Saturday evening, Tallahassee overcame the odds to knock out the top two teams in the state – Panhandle Conference champion Chipola College and St. Johns River State, champions of the Mid-Florida Conference.
The win also got Tallahassee to the 40-win plateau for the second straight season, the first time that has happened since 1999 and 2000.
The Eagles can now sit back and wait for Monday's 10 a.m. game against the loser of Sunday's 7 p.m. (scheduled start time) tilt between Polk State College and Gulf Coast State College.
Playing just 35 minutes after a 2-1 win over Chipola, Tallahassee scored in its first at-bat against St. Johns River State – Quincy Nieporte's sac-fly scored Johnny Blue Craig.
After that, Tallahassee rallied from deficits of 2-1, 3-2 and 5-3 – erasing the last with a four-run seventh.
Craig tied the game with a two-run triple and scored the go-ahead run on Ryne Willard's successful squeeze bunt. Willard later scored on Cody Borup's single to give the Eagles a 7-5 lead.
Tallahassee padded its lead with three more runs in the eighth and one in the ninth.
Collin Strall, who pitched 3.2 innings for the save against Chipola, went another 3.2 innings and was credited with the win against St. Johns River State.
The last of four Tallahassee pitchers, Strall didn't allow a run and scattered five hits while striking out four.
The Eagles' racked up 17 hits, led by Jonathan Burkett, who was 4-for-5. Borup and Craig both went 3-for-4. Willard was 1-for-4 with three RBI.