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Eagles rally past Gordon State in TCC Diamond Classic opener
 February 8, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (February 7, 2013) – FCSAA No. 2 Tallahassee Community College overcame the elements, five defensive errors and a pair of deficits before finally scoring a 9-8 win over Gordon (Ga.) State College on Thursday evening in the opening game of the TCC Diamond Classic.

The start of Thursday’s Classic opener was delayed 2.5 hours as a result of rain that moved through Tallahassee earlier in the day. And while new-look Eagle Field did its job handling the precipitation that fell on Thursday, the damp surface wreaked havoc for much of the evening, as the teams combined for eight errors.

The win, Tallahassee's fifth straight, improved the Eagles to 8-1. Gordon State, who finished third at the 2012 JUCO World Series, dropped its fourth straight game to open the season.

Thursday’s game was a back-and-forth affair, and both teams rallied from multiple deficits before Tallahassee broke an 8-all tie in its final at-bat.

Anthony Torres drew a one-out walk then stole his way to third - his third and fourth stolen bases of the night, tying the Eagles' single-game record, set previously by the late Ryan Freel and Brian Cox, who went on to play for the Florida State Seminoles.

Tallahassee stole a team-record seven bases on Thursday.

With one out, Clay Fenwick grounded out to first, allowing Torres to score the go-ahead run.

Gordon State mounted one last rally in the top of the ninth against winning pitcher Jared Stanley (2-0).

After leadoff hitter Grant Massey reached on an error, Tallahassee's fifth of the game, a sac bunt and wild pitch moved the tying run 90 feet away. The Highlanders eventually loaded the bases before Stanley struck out Nathan Dempsey to end the game.

The teams play again at 2 p.m. Friday but they’ll have a hard time equaling Thursday’s excitement.

Gordon State wasted no time jumping on Tallahassee starter Nick Deckert. Leadoff hitter Corey Harmon reached base when Torres committed the first of his three errors. Two batters later, Harmon scored on a single to right by Brian Jacobs.

Aided by a pair of Gordon State errors, the Eagles answered with two runs in their first at-bat. Trent Higginbothem’s one-out single scored Torres then Clay Fenwick, who reached base on the first Highlander error of the inning, later scored on second baseman Logan Conley’s errant throw to first on what would have been an inning-ending double play.

After Gordon State tied the game in the top of the second, Tallahassee put three runs on the board in the bottom half to give Deckert a three-run cushion. The Eagle lefty, however, didn’t make it out of the third inning.

A two-out single to shallow right off the bat of Grant Massey scored Jacobs, ended Deckert’s night after just 2.2 innings and brought on Ethan Bornstein. A passed ball by catcher James Abbatinozzi scored Gordon State’s second run of the evening and cut Tallahassee’s lead to 5-4.

Gordon State took a 6-5 lead in the fifth, although Bornstein did a good job preventing an even bigger inning. A pair of two-out errors by Torres kept the inning alive and enabled the Highlanders to plate the tying and go-ahead runs. Bornstein eventually issued a walk to load the bases but escaped further damage when Harmon flied out to right to end the inning.

Bornstein, who worked 4.1 innings in relief, was in line for the victory after Tallahassee scored three runs in the seventh - Higginbothem’s two-RBI triple and a run-scoring single by Chad Mabini – but he ran into trouble in the eighth. A leadoff walk followed by a double put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position and sent Tallahassee head coach Mike McLeod to the bullpen.

Reliever Taylor Wright struck out the first batter he faced but yielded a game-tying single to Jacobs that knotted the game at 8-all.

Higginbothem went 2-for-3 and drove in three runs to lead Tallahassee’s 10-hit attack. Torres, Matt Bahnick and John Price, Jr., had two hits each.

Gordon State was paced by Jacobs, was 3-for-4 with two RBI.

Following Friday’s Tallahassee-Gordon State game, the Highlanders will turn around and play Central Alabama Community College.

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