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Eagles Solo Home Run Enough in Pitcher's Duel, Cougars Lose 1-0
Heading into the third game of the weekend, with the series even 1-1, both teams got dominant pitching performances from their starters. The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning when the Eagles left fielder Zack Warner hit a solo home run to give Toccoa a 1-0 lead.
Clearwater's starting pitcher, freshman Stephen Martin, worked out of some big jams, stranding two runners in each of the first three innings. In the fourth, he surrendered a one out double to Josh Hill, but threw him out at third on the next play, after shortstop Jordan Couillard hit a ground ball back at Martin, and he made a perfect throw to third baseman Joel Felten for the out. Martin struck out the Eagles catcher Russ Pritchett to retire the side.
Toccoa Fall's starting pitcher Justin Key was just as dominant, getting out of a pair of big jams in the first and second innings. The Cougars stranded runners at first and second in the first, and then left the bases loaded in the second. Key allowed five hits, struck out five, and did not allow a run in his complete game effort.
Martin (3-7) threw a complete game for Clearwater, striking out four, yielding five hits, and allowing just one run on the solo home run from Zack Warner.
Freshman Caleb Jordan led the Cougars with a 2-3 performance at the plate. He was stranded at third in the second inning, and at second in the fourth inning. Junior David Edwards went 1-2 with a pair of walks, and was stranded three times.
The loss puts Clearwater at 10-30 overall, and 2-6 in the NCCAA DII South Region. Toccoa Falls, who locked up the #1 seed for the NCCAA DII South Regional in Friday's win, is 23-13 (8-2 conference).
Clearwater will finish out their regular season play this coming week with a double header on Friday afternoon at Florida Christian College with the first pitch set for noon in Kissimmee. If the Cougars sweep, they will seal the #2 seed for the NCCAA DII South Regional.
On Saturday, Clearwater will host St. Pete College for the second annual Mayor's Cup, set for a 6:00pm start at Jack Russell Stadium.
Notes: Martin's sixth complete game is a team high...Jordan's multi hit game is his sixth this season...Velez has swiped twelve bags...both teams combined for fourteen runners left on base...Cougars third one run loss, and eighth by three or less this year...Clearwater finished 2-2 on the week.
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