Contact: Mark DeCotis, Athletic Communications
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Baseball Opens Challenging Four-Game Conference Stretch Today at Palm Beach State

March 11, 2014 - The Florida College System Activities Association Southern Conference baseball season encompasses 24 grueling, grinding, gut-wrenching games where every pitch is crucial.

And four games into the season Eastern Florida finds itself in fourth place at 2-2 and facing four games this week against last season's standard bearers.

The Titans begin with a 5 p.m. game today at 2013 state champion and NJCAA Division I national runner-up Palm Beach State College in Lake Worth. They host the Panthers at 5 p.m. Wednesday at Bruce Bochy Field on the Melbourne Campus and then visit last season's regular-season conference champion Miami Dade College in Kendall for games at 4 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday.

Admission to Eastern Florida home games is free.

Palm Beach leads the conference at 3-1 – its one loss to Miami - while Miami Dade is 1-1, having split with Palm Beach. Broward College is 1-1 – having split with Eastern Florida. Indian River State College is 1-3. It split with Eastern Florida and was swept by Palm Beach.

Eastern Florida is 12-7 overall, Palm Beach 15-9, Miami Dade 10-9, Broward 11-10 and Indian River State 9-12.

Palm Beach will present a challenge to Eastern Florida pitching. The Panthers lead the nation in hits with 258, are fourth in at bats with 796, 10th in total bases with 331, 18th in runs at 143, 18th in doubles with 41, and 19th in walks with 85. They are 29th in batting average at .324.

The Titans have scored 18 runs in their four conference games while allowing 21. Palm Beach has scored 26 while allowing 12.

Freshman designated hitter Alessandro Lima and freshmen leftfielder Christian Diaz are leading the Titans at the plate. Lima is hitting .391 for the season as a whole. He also leads in hits with 27, on base percentage at .455, is second in runs batted in with 18, is tied for second in doubles with four and triples with two.

Diaz leads in runs batted in with 22, home runs with three, triples with four, total bases 45, extra base hits 12 and slugging percentage .634.

Sophomore infielder Jack Machonis leads in runs scored with 18. Diaz, Machonis and freshman Austin Pereira lead in doubles with five each.

Pitching wise relievers and right handers freshman Josh Smith and sophomore Chayce Hubbard have two saves each. Sophomore right handed starter Jon Piriz leads in innings pitched with 33.

Sophomore right hander Alec Lamrouex leads in strikeouts with 27 in 22 innings. Sophomore right hander Kenton Hering leads in earned run average with 1.71.

Piriz, Lamrouex, Hering, freshman right hander Dulvis Borjas and left hander Nick Sucarichi are tied for the lead in victories with two each.