LAKELAND- Facing the nation's No. 2 team, the College of Central Florida baseball team showed no fear in the opening round of the FCSAA State Tournament.
With the game on the line, Robby Jolley came up huge and the Patriots pushed Chipola to the brink of elimination.
Jolley's two-run single with two outs in the top of the ninth inning started a four-run outburst that lifted CF past Chipola 7-3 on Friday night at Joker Marchant Stadium.
"He's been killing it in batting practice and he's been waiting his turn and he came up big for us," said CF coach Marty Smith, whose team was the only lower seed to win in the opening day of the tournament.
"We had some great at-bats all game long. We grinded it out and got the job done."
Jolley singled off the second baseman's glove and the ball trickled into right to put the Patriots ahead for good.
The hit by former Forest High standout greeted relief pitcher Jo Jo Darden, who had little success in his stint out of the bullpen.
CF wasn't done.
Christian Khawam followed Jolley with his second homer of the game, a two-run shot, which brought the CF faithful to its feet.
The Patriots (33-17) were able to get into position against Chipola starter Taylor Lewis (7-4).
The Indians (36-11) saw Lewis retire the next batter, which would set the stage for Jolley.
First, though, Chipola pulled Lewis, who threw 133 pitches on the night and Jolley made the Panhandle Conference champions pay with his go-ahead single.
"We had so many great at-bats against a very good pitcher," Smith said. "Everyone we had talked to about facing (Lewis) said 'good luck,' but our guys battled hard and hit his mistakes.
"You've got to be able to do that in a game like that. We had a great at-bat by (Ambrosino) to get that walk (in the ninth) and then Robby made them pay off with that big hit. It was a total team effort."
With the win, CF advances in the winner's bracket and will face the winner between Miami Dade and State College of Florida-Manatee on Sunday afternoon at 4 p.m.
The victory was the first for the Patriots in the state tournament since they downed SCF back in 2009 when the tournament was held in Winter Haven.
Since then, CF had lost three straight state tournament games, but the likes of Jolley, Khawam and freshman pitcher Boomer Biegalski made the difference for the Patriots.
"We can play with anyone when we play well," Smith said.
Biegalski, a freshman from Tallahassee Chiles High, went the distance and scattered nine hits and walked just two. The right-hander struck out six and got out of situations in the sixth and eighth innings where the Indians had runners in scoring positions following doubles.
Biegalski threw 129 pitches, 94 for strikes and held the Indians to a 2-for-11 clip when they had runners on base.
"I went out there in the eighth and had thought about going to the bullpen and when I asked him how he was feeling he said 'coach, I am going nine," said Smith. "I told him that he may not have as much left as he thought and he said 'coach, I am going nine.
"To do what he did against a quality team like Chipola was quite something."
Khawam, who was named first-team all-state, powered a pitch over the left field wall from Lewis to give the Patriots the early momentum.
From there, CF added single runs in both the third and fourth innings.
Lugo led off the third with a triple to right and scored when the next batter, N.J. Williamson, lifted a sacrifice fly.
The Patriots continued to put things together against Lewis, a University of Florida signee.
Enderson Velasquez, CF's leading hitter during Mid-Florida Conference play, led off the fourth with a double and took third after a botched pickoff attempt by the Indians. Collin Woody pushed the Patriots' lead to 3-0 with a run-scoring fielder's choice.
The Indians tied the game thanks to three two-out runs in the fifth. Chipola's Jason Sierra grounded a triple down the first base line that scored two runs, before Blake Vasquez tied things up with a double that bounced off CF's Collin Woody at third and rolled into foul territory.
Biegalski, though, limited the Indians to a 0-for-4 effort with runners in scoring position over the final four innings and the Patriots made the plays when they needed them most.
Khawam (2-for-5, two runs scored, two homers, three RBI), Velasquez (2-for-5, run scored), Lugo (2-for-3, run scored, triple), Brown (1-for-4, run scored), Ambrosino (1-for-3, run scored) and Ryan Smith (1-for-3) led the way at the plate for CF.
It was the first meeting between the Patriots and Indians since the 2007 state championship game, won by Chipola.
This time around, it was CF that got the job done, as Biegalski won for the eight time in nine decisions and finished with his fifth complete game of the season. He's also allowed four runs or less in his last 10 starts and outdueled Lewis, who went 8 2/3 innings.
Lewis allowed five runs on seven hits and struck out two. He didn't walk a batter over the first seven innings, but one of his two walks wound up coming around to score in the ninth.
CF also continued a trend where the top-ranked team in the state poll struggles in the state tournament.
Over the past three seasons and four of the last five years, the top-ranked team lost its opening round game and this time, the sixth-ranked Patriots put Chipola in a huge hole.
CF will now face either SCF or Miami Dade.
The Patriots and SCF split a pair of games during the regular season, with the home team winning both contests, while CF won the lone meeting with MDC.
SCF downed Tallahassee 11-3 in seven innings on Friday, while MDC, the Southern Conference champion, was idle on the opening day of the tournament.