By SETH STRINGER
NICEVILLE – NWF State baseball is climbing.
In the national ranks. And in the Panhandle.
The Raiders celebrated their newly-minted No. 11 ranking in the nation with a 9-1 run-ruled win over Pensacola Sate, completing a 3-1 series win over the Pirates and notching their 13th win in the last 14 games.
After losing 4-1 to Pensacola State on Thursday, the Raiders (22-6, 3-1) answered by outscoring the Pirates by a combined 28-1 over the next three contests.
First came a 9-0, 10-1 sweep Friday, and then came Tuesday's third straight run-ruled victory.
Mikey Madej had four RBIs and scored twice in a 2-for-3 effort for the Raiders, who jumped on the Pirates 2-0 after the first inning, 4-0 in the second frame and 9-0 following four.
Kaden Polcovich, Will Moriarty and Kyle Fitzgerald each tallied an RBI for the Raiders, who logged only five hits but drew eight walks against the trio of starter Sam Knowlton, Logan Miracle and Tyson Ellis.
That was plenty for Jacob Kush, who struck out 12 and allowed just five base knocks in a complete-game gem. Pensacola State's lone run in the third was unearned.
Knowlton earned the loss after allowing six runs – four earned – on four hits and three walks over three innings. Miracle followed by allowing three runs on three walks and a hit over two frames. Ellis walked two by tossed a scoreless seventh.
The Raiders now travel to Gulf Coast State for a 5 p.m. first pitch on Thursday.