NWF State wraps up season sweep of Gulf Coast

NWF State wraps up season sweep of Gulf Coast

By SETH STRINGER

NICEVILLE — This time, there would be no comeback, no late-game heroics. The Raiders didn't need it.

Where the Northwest Florida State baseball team trailed Gulf Coast State by two headed into the eighth inning of Monday night's victory, it led by five runs on Wednesday in Niceville, cruising to a 9-3 victory and a six-game season sweep against the visiting Commodores.

Make no mistake, though. The game wasn't easy.

Gulf Coast State (23-19, 5-13) took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first before Raider starter Jacob Kush could settle in.

Leadoff man Kaden Polcovich answered in the bottom of the third, driving a two-run home run over the wall for a 2-1 lead, only to watch the Commodores plate two more runs in the next half inning.

With the game looking like another competitive affair, first baseman Jake Randa stepped up to deliver the tying and go-ahead RBIs in the fifth and seventh innings.

NWF State (36-8, 17-3) continued to pour on in the seventh, scoring five runs in the frame off the bats of Kyle Fitzgerald, Justice Thompson and Brock Franks to take an 8-3 lead.

At the dish, Polcovich finished as the leading man with a 3-for-5 showing and three runs scored. Second baseman Mikey Madej, a UNC commit who drove in the go-ahead runs Monday, was 2-for-5 with two runs scored.

Fitzgerald was 2-for-3 with a pair of walks, and Thompson and Franks had one base knock each, the Raiders slapping 11 hits as a team to the Commodores' five.

On the mound, the righthanded Kush didn't get the win, but he pitched another gem, allowing just four hits, four walks and a single earned run in six innings with strikeout.

Connor Stephens, a right-handed sophomore, relieved Kush in the seventh and tossed three scoreless frames, allowing just one hit and striking out two to earn the victory.

The Raiders, who have outscored opponents 329-108 this season, return to action at 3 p.m. Friday in Niceville to kick off a two-game series with Tallahassee.