Eagles combine pitching and defense to shut out St. Pete

Keith Oren and Cody Gamble celebrate after the Eagles shut out St. Pete 1-0. (Photo by Tom Hagerty, Polk State.)
Keith Oren and Cody Gamble celebrate after the Eagles shut out St. Pete 1-0. (Photo by Tom Hagerty, Polk State.)

Polk State scored just one run today – the result of a balk – but that was enough as Luke Parker made a diving catch to end the game with runners in scoring position and four pitchers combined to shut out St. Petersburg 1-0 in Winter Haven. 

The Eagles scored their run in the fifth inning after Keith Oren singled and Brandon Gali sacrificed him to second. 

Kaylor Kulina followed with a single that moved Oren to third, and he scored on a balk. 

The Titans threatened in the top of the ninth when a leadoff single, a sacrifice, an infield, and a wild pitch put runners at second and third with one out. 

Reliever Cody Gamble struck out the next hitter when he swung and missed at a 2-2 curve ball. 

The next Titan hitter lined a 1-1 pitch over second base, and it looked like the ball would drop for a hit and score two runs, but center fielder Parker made a diving catch the end the game and give Gamble his sixth save of the season. 

Starting pitcher Jordan Barrett got the win, improving his record to 5-0. In six and one-third of an inning he allowed two hits and a walk while recording four strikeouts. 

Zak Spivy and Luis Ferrer combined to keep the Titans off the scoreboard until Gamble entered the game with one out in the ninth. 

"We threw the ball really well today," said Head Coach Al Corbeil. "We were very competitive. You can definitely tell we're in conference play now. 

"St. Pete has a good ball club. We've had two tough games with them already, and we were fortunate to come out on the winning side today." 

St. Petersburg also threatened to score in the top of the seventh, but with two outs and runners at first and third Kyle Jackson made an acrobatic catch in left field to end the inning. 

Jackson also singled and stole second. 

Kaylor Kulina went two-for-four. 

Parker, JD Osborne, Matt Piatt, Keith Oren, and Brandon Gali had a hit apiece. 

The Eagles (15-7, 2-0, No. 8 in the FCSAA Coaches' Poll) have won four in a row. They face St. Petersburg on the road Tuesday at 6 p.m.

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