Central Florida wins 14-inning duel with St. Johns
They locked up for 14 innings, only to learn they may have to do it again in a week.
Yorvis Torrealba launched a three-run homer into the night at otherwise stingy Tindall Field, the big blow in a four-run inning as the College of Central Florida outlasted St. Johns River State College 7-3 in a Mid-Florida Conference classic on Friday.
The Vikings left a staggering 18 on base in their second straight loss, their third in four games. After getting clutch hits in the seventh and eighth to force extra innings, they left men in scoring position in the ninth, 10th, 11th and 14th innings and had a potential winning home run caught at the fence in the 13th.
“We hit three balls in extra innings that would have been out any other day,” said SJR State coach Ross Jones. “It’s amazing. You’re in the 13th and it’s 3-3. Both sides played well. Both teams made great plays. Neither team deserved to lose, but one had to.”
The Patriots (29-13-1, 17-6) assured themselves second place and a bye in an MFC tournament that will determine which team will join first-place Santa Fe. As the third-place team – regardless of what happens in today’s regular-season conference finale at Florida State College-Jacksonville – St. Johns (31-15, 15-8) will open the tournament at home Thursday against the fourth-place team, Lake-Sumter or Daytona State. The winner goes to Ocala next Friday to begin a best-of-three series with Central Florida.
The Patriots led 3-0 though six innings before St. Johns rallied. Raymond Gonzalez delivered an RBI double in the seventh and Pablo Cedeno hit a two-run single in the eighth to make it 3-3. Five scoreless innings followed before Central Florida got the go-ahead run out of a leadoff walk, a one-out wild pitch on a third strike and an RBI single.
Torrealba followed with his three-run blast off Luke Sutko (2-3), normally a closer but working in his sixth inning since relieving starter Elijah Gill.
Gill struck out six, walked three and allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits over eight innings to a Central Florida club that hung 20 runs in the Vikings in its last trip to Tindall Field on March 28.
“He pitched the best game since he’s been here,” said Jones of the freshman lefthander.
Justin Farmer was 2-5, Gonzalez and Kerry Carpenter both 2-6 in an 11-hit offense. Cedeno, Joey Bellini, Nick Romano, Riley Wash and Francis Villaman all singled.