EFSC Titans Lose Heartbreaker In Ninth Inning 6-5, Season Ends
By Mark DeCotis // April 29, 2015
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – It’s heartbreak time for the Titans.
Eastern Florida’s baseball team allowed two runs with two outs in the top of the ninth inning on Tuesday to fall 6-5 to Gulf Coast State in their NJCAA Region 8/FCSAA Tournament play-in game at St. Johns River State in Palatka.
Eastern Florida’s season is over.
Gulf Coast moves on to the tournament May 8-13 at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, the spring training home for Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers.
Eastern Florida, stymied through six innings, scored once in the seventh and four times in the eighth, three runs coming on Brandon Gomez’s two-out home run for a 5-4 lead.
But Gulf Coast rallied with two outs in the top of the ninth to grab the victory.
Gulf Coast struck first in the game, loading the bases with one out in the top of the second inning and scoring on a fielder’s choice ground out to third base. Titans starter Blair Calvo escaped further damage, limiting the Commodores to a 1-0 lead.
Gulf Coast made it 2-0 in the fourth on Trevor Davis’ lead off home run to left.
Meanwhile Gulf Coast starter Matt Foster, backed by a stellar defense, limited Eastern Florida to one hit and one base runner over six innings, striking out six.
Gulf Coast increased its lead to 4-0 in the seventh on two hits and an Eastern Florida error.
Christian Diaz led off the bottom of the seventh with a double for the Titans. He scored on a throwing error on Freddi Ramos’ grounder to second. Ramos went to second on the play.
Derek Deler then reached on the second Gulf Coast error of the inning, putting runners at the corners with one out. Foster escaped further damage with two strikeouts, giving him eight.
Miguel Castellanos relieved Calvo for Eastern Florida to start the eighth inning, surrendering one hit.
As the Titans came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, Vinny Capra led off with a single, just Eastern Florida’s third hit. Luis Silverio followed with a single, putting runners at first and third with no outs and chasing Foster from the game and bringing in lefty Adam Bleday.
Ramos singled with two outs scoring Capra to make it 4-2. Gomez then hit Bleday’s next pitch over the left field fence for the three-run home run and the 5-4 Titans lead.
Castellanos retired the first two batters in the ninth but could not secure a third out, allowing consecutive singles and bringing on reliever Noah Dyals.
Dyals hit the first batter he faced, loading the bases. Dondrayas Harris then lined a 2-2 pitch back up the middle to score two runs for a 6-5 Gulf Coast lead.
Angel Soto singled for the Titans with one out in the bottom of the ninth but got no further as the Titans season ended in heartbreak.
Eastern Florida finished third in the FCSAA Southern Conference with a record of 16-12 and finished 30-21 overall.
Gulf Coast finished third in the Panhandle Conference with a 9-10 record. They are 32-18 overall.
Eastern Florida found itself in the same position last season and won its play-in game 10-8 over St. Petersburg College on a Christian Diaz two-run, ninth inning walk-off home run.
The 2014 victory advanced the Titans to the tournament for the first time since 2000, but they were eliminated after losing two games, the first 10-0 to Gulf Coast.