The Santa Fe Saints suffered their first loss of the season at the hands of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota 5-2 Friday evening in Bradenton in a matchup of two of the nation's top 12 teams.
Garrett Mathes got the Saints off on the right foot when he connected for a solo home run with one out in the first, but the Saints only other score would come in the eighth when Parker Beiderer delivered and RBI single.
Meanwhile, Saints starter Donovan Benoit and SCF starter Aaron Brown were locked up in a pitcher's dual that left the score at 1-1 after five innings. "Benoit was really good again for five innings and gave us a great start," said SF Head Coach Johnny Wiggs. "We just can't give up a big inning against very good teams like SCF."
The big inning for the Manatees came in the sixth as they pushed four runs across the plate when Saints reliver Tyler Jones (0-1) struggled with his control, hitting two batters and throwing two wild pitches. Jones retired seven of the last eight batters he faced, but SCF reliver Logan Frasier kept the Saints in check.
Santa Fe (5-1) are presently ranked #3 in the Florida College System Activities Association and # 12 NJCAA while SCF (4-0) is ranked #2 FCSAA and #10 NJCAA.
Biederer and Jonathan Logsdon had two hits apiece for the Saints while Mathes homerun was his first of the year.
"We have to put the ball in play to give ourselves a chance to be successful offensively," said Wiggs. "We won't panic over one loss and will get back to work tomorrow."
The Saints will host South Florida State College for a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon.
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