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Eastern Florida Scores 8-2 Conference Victory Over Broward

March 8, 2014 - Eastern Florida's baseball team avoided early disaster and then saw its bats awaken en route to an 8-2 Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference victory over visiting Broward College on Saturday at Bruce Bochy Field.

The victory improved Eastern Florida's record to 12-7 overall and 2-2 in the conference. Broward fell to 11-10 and 1-1.

Eastern Florida pitchers walked eight Broward batters through the first five innings and allowed the Seahawks to load the bases twice. But the Titans infield turned two double plays to keep Broward off the scoreboard until the Seahawks finally scored two runs in the sixth inning.

But by then the Titans, thanks in large part to shortstop J.D. Gould's one-out three-run triple in the third inning and lead off batter and first baseman Jack Machonis scoring three runs had built a 5-2 lead.

The Titans tacked on three more runs in the sixth for the final margin.

The Titans had seven hits, six walks and six stolen bases and also took advantage of three Broward errors. The Seahawks managed five hits to go along with nine walks.

"I guess you can call it effectively wild but if you are going to walk nine guys, seven in the first four innings and not give up a run I would have called you crazy," said Eastern Florida head coach Jeff Tam.

"It cannot happen. You keep doing you are going to be down, 4-, 5-0 nothing in a heart beat. We've just got to keep working in the bullpen and keep fighting to make pitches."

Reliever Nick Sucarichi got the win for the Titans going one inning. Sucarichi spelled starter Hector Perez with the Titans in a jam in the fifth but induced three ground-ball outs. He faltered in the sixth and was relieved by Josh Smith who kept Broward at bay until Chayce Hubbard closed out the ninth.

"We're very fortunate," Tam said. "We played hard, we played well when we had to. We made pitches in tough situations but you cannot put guys on base.

"Smith did a great job. He's consistent, he pounds the strike zone, he doesn't walk very many guys. He gives you a fighting chance."

As did the Titans offense.

"Coach Tam just told me to be selective and find a pitch to handle," said Gould of his triple. "He just came over the plate with his first pitch. It was a good pitch to handle."

For his part Machonis credited his approach to hitting. He reached base on an error, two walks and a double.

"My approach recently has been kind of let the ball gt deep and kind of see the pitches come across the right way," he said. "Today they were hanging me all fastballs so I was lucky get to ahead on some of them. They fell behind in the count. Whenever they get behind it's an advantage for me."

Gould and Machonis also figured in the three double plays along with third baseman Angel Soto and second baseman Nick Capra.

"We did a great job in the infield today," Machonis said. "It's always great when you can do that behind pitchers throwing strikes, keeping the ball low."

Leftfielder Christian Diaz had two hits for the Titans while rightfielder Miguel Castellanos scored two runs.

Next up for the Titans is a Tuesday and Wednesday home and home match up against conference foe Palm Beach State, the 2013 NJCAA Division I national runner-up.

The Titans visit Lake Worth for a 5 p.m. Tuesday game and then host the Panthers at 5 p.m. Wednesday. Admission to Titans home games is free.