TAMPA — A midseason clash between two premier teams lived up to its billing Saturday afternoon.
Dunedin coughed up a big lead then rallied for an 8-7 victory over host Jesuit.
The Falcons (16-4) used a five-run second inning to take early command before the Tigers' 6-foot-6 slugger, Max Beerman, brought Jesuit back with just two swings.
The first was a grand slam in the bottom of the fourth to bring Jesuit (16-4) within two runs.
The second gave the Tigers their first lead, 7-6, as Beerman connected for a three-run blast in the sixth inning.
"Beerman kept us in the game with his bat," Jesuit coach Richie Warren said. "And we had a chance to win it there."
Jesuit then brought in closer Lance McCullers, who routinely hits the mid-to-upper 90s on the radar gun. But with two outs and the tying run on third, McCullers gave up an opposite-field homer to Andrew Brodbeck as Dunedin took the lead right back.
"They're a good team, and it was a good pitch and a pretty good swing," Warren said. "We'll still take McCullers on the mound with a lead any day."
The Tigers got their first two hitters on base in the bottom half of the seventh, but Pete Alonso struck out swinging before Nolan Schultz hit into a double play to end the game.
Falcons starter Mike Clarkson gave up six hits over six innings for the win and Cam Oxiner picked up the save.
Jesuit starter Conor O'Brien lasted just two innings and gave up five runs (three earned) in his shortest start of the season.
Beerman finished 2-for-3 with the two homers and seven RBIs.
Casey Turgeon had a double and triple for the Falcons.