The #2 Indians had a difficult time getting the bats going on Thursday in the opening game of the FCSAA State Tournament Championship Round. Chipola (41-13-1) fell to #7 College of Central Florida, 7-2, and will now face Miami-Dade College in an elimination game on Friday.
In a battle of future SEC pitchers, Chipola's Dylan Eskew, a South Carolina signee, toed the rubber against the Patriot's Aaron Combs, who will attend Tennessee in the fall.
Both pitchers put up scoreless frames in the first two innings and Eskew appeared to have gotten out of trouble with two runners on and one out in the third. Indians' first baseman, Tucker Flint fielded a ground ball at first threw to second for the second out but Emanuel Aldoban's throw back to first was not in time according to the first base umpire. The next batter for the Patriots gave them a three run lead with a shot into the Indian's bullpen past the right field fence.
The Patriots added single runs in each of the fifth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings, making it difficult for the Indians to gain any momentum.
Chipola scored their first run in the fifth when Zac Rice scored on a sac fly by Cam Collier. Cesar Franco hit his eighth home run of the season, a solo shot, in the sixth inning to close out the scoring for the Indians.
The Indians and Miami-Dade (36-18-1) at noon CDT on Friday. The two teams played earlier in the season with Chipola winning 8-2 in the Visit Panama City Beach NJCAA Baseball Classic on February 5. Since there was no tournament held in 2020 due to COVID, the two teams are the last two FSCAA Champions with Chipola winning in 2019 and Miami-Dade taking the title home a season ago.