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Eastern Florida Eliminated From State Baseball Tournament With 8-6 Loss
May 10, 2014 - Eastern Florida's baseball team was eliminated from the Florida College System Activities Association/NJCAA Division I Region 8 tournament on Saturday in an 8-6 loss to Palm Beach State.
The Titans went 0-2 in their first tournament appearance since 2001, losing their first game 10-0 to Gulf Coast State College on Friday.
The Titans outhit Palm Beach 13-10 and saw seven batters receive walks. But the Titans left 12 men on base and committed three errors in their seventh match up this season with their FCSAA Southern Conference foe. Eastern Florida won three of the games.
In the end Eastern Florida head coach Jeff Tam had praise for his team.
"I couldn't have been prouder," he said. "They put their stamp on this program to move it forward. They set the standard for the guys who come in behind them and it happened almost overnight.
"We kind of expected it might be a little bit for us to turn it around. But we got the right group in here and they played as a family and they played as a unit."
Conversely, Tam believes playing on the big stage at Lakeland's Joker Marchant Stadium, the spring training home of Major League Baseball's Detroit Tigers might have played a role in his team's performance.
"I'd be lying if I said it didn't play a factor a little bit," Tam said. "Absolutely. Playing in a big stadium, playing in a state tournament. It's a lesson. Hopefully they learned. First time in a long time. These kids have maybe never felt that type of adrenalin, know how to channel it. Hopefully they learn from it and get better."
The Titans scored first, plating a run in the bottom of the first inning. Lead off hitter Jack Machonis walked, advanced to second on Nick Capra's single and was driven home on a two-out infield single by designated hitter Alessandro Lima.
Machonis also turned an unassisted double play in the top of the first inning snaring a sharply hit line drive for the first out and stepping on first base to double up the runner who had broken for second base.
But the Titans lead didn't last long as Palm Beach sent eight batters to the plate in the top of the second and scored three runs on three hits and two errors for a 3-1 advantage.
Angel Soto singled with one out in the third inning for the Titans but was caught stealing to end the inning.
Palm Beach threatened in the top of the third putting two runners on without a hit but they were denied when Christian Diaz snared a long fly ball to left field and Soto threw out the Panthers runner on a two-out bunt.
The Titans loaded the bases with two out in the fourth inning on a Lima walk, Austin Leeney single and a Soto walk but came away empty as Austin Pereira popped out to shortstop for the third out.
Eastern Florida went ahead 4-3 in the fifth inning on singles by Machonis, Capra and Francisco Cruz, a Christian Diaz fielder's choice, a Lima walk, a J.J. Gould single and a Leeney walk.
Eastern Florida sent nine batters to the plate but left the bases loaded for the second straight inning.
Palm Beach stormed right back in the top of the sixth to take the lead. A single, fielder's choice and throwing error put runners at the corners with no one out and a base hit to right tied the game at 4-4.
Starter Dulvis Borjas then loaded the bases with a walk and was relieved by Chayce Hubbard with one out in the inning.
Hubbard induced a strikeout but gave up a grand slam home run to right field by Zac Burger to make it 8-4 Palm Beach.
Palm Beach did not put a runner on base over the final three innings against Hubbard and John Piriz but the damage was done.
Capra singled in the sixth for his third hit of the game but was left stranded.
The Titans closed to 8-5 in the seventh when Lima, who walked for the third time and advanced on a Gould double, scored on a sacrifice fly to deep right by Soto.
The Titans had one final chance in the ninth when Gould singled with one out for his third hit of the night. Leeney followed with a double to left putting runners on second and third with one out.
Gould scored on a wild pitch to make it 8-6 but no further damage was done and the Titans finished the season at 28-19.