Lakeland, FL - FCSAA No. 9 Tallahassee Community College eliminated top-ranked Chipola College with a 2-1 win on Sunday morning at the NJCAA Gulf District/FCSAA State Baseball Tournament.
Tallahassee (39-17) kept its season alive with the victory and advanced to a loser's bracket game against St. Johns River State College, which began at 10:55 a.m.
The outcome flipped the script in the teams' recent postseason history. Chipola eliminated Tallahassee in its two previous appearances at the FCSAA Tournament (2009, 2013) and in both instances, the Eagles entered as Panhandle Conference champions.
Tallahassee and Chipola resumed play at 8 a.m. Sunday after heavy rain suspended Saturday night's game, which began at 9:25 p.m., after just one inning.
Prior to the stoppage, Tallahassee scored to grab a 1-0 lead.
Ryne Willard reached base and advanced to second when Chipola right fielder Blaze Vazquez overran a fly ball down the right field line. With the rain coming down, Quincy Nieporte singled home Willard.
Play was stopped following the first inning and it quickly became apparent the game would not resume.
When the teams took the field at Joker Marchant Stadium Sunday morning, they did so with new starting pitchers as the delay knocked out a pair of all-PC lefties – Tallahassee's Victor Cole and Chipola's Michael Mader.
Tallahassee's Shaun Herbert (5-3), who hadn't pitched since an April 14 loss to Chipola, went 4.1 innings and was credited with the victory.
Herbert carried a 2-0 lead to the sixth but gave way to Collin Strall after a run scored and with runners on the corners.
Strall, who went the final 3.2 innings for his first save, proceeded to work out of the first of three harrowing jams.
He picked Josh Merrigan off first following a fake throw to third then got out of the inning on a dribbler back to the mound.
In the seventh, Chipola's Kyle Moore tripled with one out but Strall struck out Jacky Miles, Jr., and Cody Lanford grounded out to short to leave the tying run at third.
A leadoff walk put the tying run on in the eighth but Strall struck out Danny Mars then got a 6-4-3 double play – the Eagles' second of the game – to end the inning.
He retired the Indians in order in the ninth.
Tallahassee scored what turned out to be the game-winning run in the fourth.
With one out, Chipola's Tom Watson walked three straight batters, which led to a pitching chance and an eventual run when Jonathan Burkett beat out an infield single.
Tallahassee had nine hits, led by D.J. McKnight, who was 2-for-3.
Cole, Herbert and Strall combined to limit Chipola to just five hits.