What would have been one of the greatest comebacks in the State College of Florida baseball program’s storied history fell one run short Sunday.
The Manatees, after trailing 10-0 in the fourth inning, could not get the tying run home from third with no outs in the ninth, losing 10-9 to Chattanooga (Tenn.) State CC in a loser’s bracket game at the Juco World Series in Grand Junction, Colo.
The loss eliminates SCF, ending another quest for the program’s first national title.
Austin Chubb’s three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth was part of a four-run inning that started the rally, but SCF still trailed 10-6 heading to the bottom of the ninth.
“The comeback was very positive,” College of Florida coach Tim Hill said. “The kids battled, and we had a chance to get some runs in the eighth again and get closer, and in the ninth inning we thought we were going to at least tie it up, but it didn’t happen.”
Chattanooga brought in reliever Jordan Hinson, who proceeded to give up hits to all five Manatees hitters he faced.
Chubb hit his second home run of the game and third of the tournament to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Tyler Rocklein followed with a solo shot.
“You knew momentum was on their side in the ninth when their first guy, the big guy, hit a home run,” said Tyler Burstrom, who is usually Chattanooga’s closer, but started Sunday allowing six runs on 13 hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Brad Dantzler, pinch-hitter Alex Burgos and Paul Stortini followed the back-to-back home runs with singles, bringing home a third run in the inning and putting the tying run on third and winning run on first.
Chattanooga then brought in a new pitcher, Brandon Elrod, who got SCF leadoff hitter Austin Smith to fly out to shallow center and Anthony Figliolia to hit into a game-ending double play.
SCF pitcher Josh Lucas allowed eight earned runs on 12 hits in 2 2/3 innings. But relievers Michael Shreves and Nick Goody combined to hold the Chattanooga offense to just two runs in the final 6 1/3 innings.
Allen Gemaehlich at The Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction, Colo., contributed to this report.