By SAM GRUBENHOFF
NICEVILLE — Get out your brooms, Raider fans. It's time for a little spring cleaning.
The NWF State baseball team swept a doubleheader with Chipola on Saturday in Niceville, winning 5-3 and, later, 7-4 to take sole possession of first place in the Panhandle Conference standings.
The No. 6 Raiders (32-7 overall, 13-2 Panhandle Conference) struck first against the defending nation champions. Catcher Brandon Riera kicked off Game 1 with an RBI double in the bottom of the second inning, and NWF State led 5-0 before 15th-ranked Chipola could plate a run.
Raiders starter Jacob Kelchner, a freshman left-hander, threw five innings, allowing just a single earned run on five hits with a pair of strikeouts, before Jackson Boyd came on in the sixth to lock down the two-inning save.
Kelchner, who boasts a 2.11 ERA this season, picked up his team-leading eighth victory, while Boyd picked up his team-leading sixth save.
Game 2 went back and forth.
Chipola (21-12, 8-3) plated a run in the top of the first, but NWF State answered immediately in the bottom of the frame, scoring two.
Chipola scored two in the top of the second, and the Raiders answered again with two of their own.
Sophomore center fielder Jake Randa finally broke the game open in the bottom of third, launching a two-run double to the left-field wall and later came around to score himself on a Mikey Madej RBI single.
On the mound, Conor Angel, Connor Stephens and Calvin Starnes worked around nine Chipola hits and five walks to extend the NWF State's winning streak to five. The Raiders have won 23 of their past 25.
The weekend sweep comes on the heels of NWF State's 12-1 rout of the Indians on the road Thursday night. The Raiders will go for the series sweep at 5 p.m. Tuesday in Marianna.