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5-run 7th lifts Raiders past Commodores

Dustin Kent

NICEVILLE — Northwest Florida State scored five runs in bottom of the seventh inning to break up a tie game en route to a 9-3 victory over Gulf Coast in JUCO baseball action Wednesday evening.

Connor Stephens got the win for the Raiders (35-8 overall, 17-3 in the Panhandle Conference) for two innings of scoreless relief, allowing one hit and striking out two. Jack Guzek took the loss for the Commodores (23-19, 5-13), surrendering five earned runs on six hits with two strikeouts in two innings out of the bullpen.

Gulf Coast took the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the fourth inning, as Brett Wisely led off the inning with a single before scoring on an error by Brock Franks, and a squeeze bunt by Kyler Hultgren allowed Justin Kelley to come home to put the Commodores up 3-2.

Northwest tied it up in the fifth on an RBI groundout by Jake Randa to bring home Kaden Polcovich and took control with a five-spot in the seventh.

Polcovich led off the inning with a single and scored on an RBI sacrifice fly by Randa, with an RBI single by Kyle Fitzgerald scoring Kelley to make it 5-3.

Franks delivered the big hit of the inning with a bases-loaded double to score three and put the Raiders up by five runs.

Polcovich led the Northwest offense, going 3 for 5 with a home run, a double, three runs, and two RBI, while Franks was 1 for 3 with three RBI. Fitzgerald also had two hits.

Stevie Moffatt and Brett Wisely had two hits each for the Commodores. Hunter Milam started on the mound for Gulf Coast and went five innings while allowing three earned runs on four hits and four walks with six strikeouts.

Raiders starter Jacob Kush went six innings on the mound and gave up three runs – one earned – on four hits and four walks with seven strikeouts.

Gulf Coast will next open a two-game set against Pensacola State on Friday in Pensacola. The teams will play Saturday at Frazier Field.

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