LAKELAND- The College of Central Florida baseball team continues to come up clutch in the FCSAA Baseball Tournament.
Two nights after scoring four times in the top of the ninth to get past top-ranked Chipola, the Patriots scored four times in the bottom of the eighth and erased a three-run deficit on their way to a 7-6 win over Miami Dade College on Sunday evening at Joker Marchant Stadium.
Colby Brown's two-run single with one out in the eighth gave CF (34-17) the lead for good and propelled them further in the winner's bracket. With the win, the Patriots will face the winner of Sunday's late game between Polk State and Gulf Coast State on Monday afternoon at 4 p.m.
To get there, CF launched its comeback against MDC starter Marcus Barrios, who worked 7 1/3 innings and threw 114 pitches.
N. J. Williamson led off the eighth with single and two batters later Enderson Velasquez also singled. With two on and one out, Williamson scored on a wild pitch from relief pitcher Ivan Paleaz to pull CF to within 6-4.
Kenny McDonald (3-0) went the final two innings for the Patriots and earned the win.
McDonald retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth, before he allowed an infield single by Nick Bateman. From there, the Sharks attempted to steal, but Brown threw out Bateman trying to steal second to end the game.
Velasquez got CF off to a good start, as he came through with a solo homer in the bottom of the first. From there, Justin Ambrosino doubled with two outs and David Lugo singled him home to put the Patriots up 2-0 in the second.
CF then had its third straight inning of scoring one run in the third, as Williamson drew a one-out walk and scored two batters later on an error by the Sharks.
The Patriots were cruising until the middle stages of the game.
CF starter Mike Cetta had allowed just one run on one hit in five innings, but struggled with three walks in the top of the sixth. After he walked in a run that pulled the Sharks to within one, Cetta gave up a two-run single by MDC's Mario Amaral to give the Sharks a 4-3 lead.
CF went to Ricky Page, who was able to get out of a tough jam.
Velasquez helped save CF when he made an excellent play on a grounder with two on and one out, as he corralled an infield grounder and threw out a Shark runner at the plate. With two outs and runners on the corner, the Sharks attempted a delayed steal, but N.J Williamson recognized the play and gunned down another MDC runner at the plate.
The Sharks added two runs in the eighth, thanks to an RBI triple by David Palenzuela and a successful squeeze bunt by Amaral, but CF never backed down.
Velasquez (2-for-4, two runs scored, RBI), Brown (2-for-4, two RBI), Woody (2-for-4, run scored, RBI), Ambrosino (2-for-4, run scored), Lugo (1-for-4, RBI) and Williamson (1-for-3, two runs scored) led CF at the plate.
For the tournament, Velasquez is 4-for-9 with three runs scored and one RBI, while Ambrosino is 5-for-6 in two games against MDC this season.