Polk State jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and never trailed today in a 6-4 win over Gulf Coast State College in the FCSAA/NJCAA Baseball Tournament at Henley Field in Lakeland.
With the Eagles leading 6-4 in the top of the ninth, Gulf Coast had the potential tying runs at first and second but Justin Tworek struck out the final hitter.
Cody Burgess drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the first. He moved to second on Yeison Gomez's single and scored on a single by Zach Diewert. Zach Biermann followed with a double to score Gomez and move Diewert to third. Isaiah Cullum then grounded out to score Diewert and give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
Brandon Gali lined a pitch over the left field fence in the fourth, giving Polk State a 4-0 advantage.
In the bottom of the fifth, Diewert led off the inning with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch, and took third on Biermann's sacrifice fly, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Cullum.
Starting pitcher Jonathan Bermudez held the Commodores scoreless until the sixth when they got a walk, a single, and a three-run homer to cut the deficit to 5-3.
The Eagles added one more run in the seventh. Burgess led off with a single and Yeison Gomez bunted for a single, advancing Burgess to second. He moved to third on Diewert's sacrifice fly and scored on another sacrifice fly by Biermann.
The Commodores cut the lead to 6-4 in the eighth on a walk, a double, and a sacrifice.
With the win, Polk State advances to play No. 1 Santa Fe tomorrow at 10 a.m. at Henley Field in Lakeland.
"I thought that was one of our better games on the year across the board," said Head Coach Al Corbeil.
"You have to play good baseball when you get here or you're gonna get sent home. We did a really good job with situational hitting. We moved some runners, we stole a couple of bags, and got some sac flies, and when you keep tacking on a run or two it gives you some breathing room. Our pitchers did a good job too. Jonathan Bermudez didn't have his best stuff today, but he really competed and didn't get rattled, and our bullpen threw well so it was a good win for us."
The Eagles had 10 hits.
Diewert went 3-for-4 with two runs, two stolen bases, and an RBI.
Burgess singled, walked, and scored twice.
Gomez went 2-for-4 with a run.
Biermann doubled and drove in two runs.
Cullum also had two RBI.
Bermudez worked five innings and earned the win. He allowed three runs on four hits, walking three and striking out eight.