LAKELAND- Mistakes ruined the College of Central Florida's chances against Polk State on Monday afternoon in the FCSAA Baseball Tournament.
The Patriots ran themselves out of several scoring chances, hit into three double plays and committed two key errors during a four-run fourth inning and fell to the Eagles 5-1 at Joker Marchant Stadium.
CF (34-18) also couldn't solve a Polk pitching staff that has been stellar in three tournament games. Polk (39-12) entered CF's game with an 0.53 ERA in 17 innings of work with only one run allowed, but fell down early.
The Patriots jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning on an RBI double by Collin Woody, but the Eagles used a pair of walks, two errors and just one hit to produce their four runs in the bottom half of the frame.
The Patriots put multiple runners on base in four of the first six innings, however, they couldn't get enough going against PSC starter Jordan Barrett (5-1) and dropped into the loser's bracket.
Barrett held CF to a 1-for-7 effort with runners in scoring position over his seven innings of work, which saw CF manage seven hits. The Patriots were also 2-for-13 with runners on base against Barrett.
Barrett allowed one run on seven hits in seven innings. He walked five and struck out three in a 119-pitch outing, which saw 71 of his tosses go for strikes.
For the game, CF drew seven walks from Polk pitchers. The Patriots, though, were unable to get any of those runners to score.
CF also put its first two batters of three separate innings on base, yet was only able to score the one run.
Against Polk, Enderson Velasquez (2-for-3, run scored), Justin Ambrosino (2-for-3), Christian Khawam (1-for-3), and Woody (1-for-3, RBI) led CF at the plate in the loss. Velasquez is now 6-for-12 in the tournament, while Ambrosino is 5-for-9.
Weston Pope (4-2) took the loss for CF. The sophomore allowed just one earned run on two hits in four innings. Pope walked four an struck out one.
Robby Frantzis threw four innings of relief for CF and allowed one run on four hits. The freshman walked one and struck out three.
Polk's Sam Machonis led his team at the plate by going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a triple. Daniel Sweet drew three walks for the Eagles and has now walked six times in three tournament games.
Polk used three pitchers to get past the Patriots and have now allowed just two runs in 26 innings for a 0.69 ERA.
CF will now fall into a matchup with Gulf Coast State on Tuesday afternoon at 1p.m. with its season on the line. The two teams haven't met during the regular season. CF swept Gulf Coast in a three-game set last season in Ocala.
The Commodores stayed alive in the tournament with three runs in the bottom of the ninth in a 5-4 walk-off win over Tallahassee on Monday.
The Eagles clinch a spot in the state championship game at a time to be determined on Wednesday.
In the meantime, Polk will face Miami Dade at 4 p.m.
If the Sharks win, they will stave off elimination and move into a play-in game against the winner between Gulf Coast and CF on Wednesday morning at 10 a.m.
A loss by MDC and the winner between CF and Gulf Coast State advances to face Polk on Wednesday morning at 10 p.m..
The Patriots would have to knock off the Eagles twice on Wednesday in order to clinch the state championship and earn a trip to the JuCo World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.