Raiders defeat Central Florida to advance at state tourney
Northwest Florida Daily News
NWF State advances at state tourney
From staff reports
The Northwest Florida State College baseball team wasted no time getting on the scoreboard Friday at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, site of the FCSAA State Tournament.
NWF State defeated College of Central Florida 5-4 in an elimination game and advanced to the third day of tournament play. The Raiders will play the winner of Chipola and State College of Florida today at 4 p.m. EDST.
NWF State, which scored three runs in the ninth inning of its tournament opening loss to top-ranked Polk State, scored a run in each of the first two innings to jump out to a 2-0 lead. Central Florida cut the lead in half in the top of the third and the Raiders extended the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the fourth.
"I said, 'well the ninth inning yesterday was good, lets use that to figure out how we did it,'" NWF State coach Doug Martin said. "We were patient at the plate, got some walks and scored. I know each game is different and one game doesn't translate too much to another.
"I don't know if it was carry over or not, but if that's what it was, then fine we'll take it."
Central Florida knotted the score at 4-4 in the top of the sixth, but in the bottom half of the frame, NWF State's Dylan Boston singled to lead off the inning. Nick Masonia scored Boston from third on an RBI single to give the Raiders the 5-4 lead.
Blake Bearden finished 3 for 4 for NWF State with a home run and three RBIs.
Conner Kendrick started and recorded the win for the Raiders, giving up four earned runs on seven hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out four before Austin Sullivan came on and threw two scoreless innings.
Mugsy Howard recorded the save; striking out all three batters he faced in the ninth.