Connor Churchill won his fourth straight game while lowering his earned run average to 0.39 as the Saints took the opening game of a doubleheader over Florida Southwestern State College 4-3 Saturday afternoon in Ft. Myers. The Buccaneers rebounded to take the nightcap 9-8.
Churchill (4-0) has allowed just one earned run over 23 innings on the season and has registered 23 strikeouts with only four walks.
The Saints led the whole way in game one after scoring two in the first and another in the third. But it took a sacrifice fly by Isaiah Perry to score Jarrod Cande in the sixth to produce the final 4-3 margin. Cande had tripled to lead off the inning.
Churchill went six innings and Tyler Jones pitched the seventh to notch his second save of the year.
The Saints broke a scoreless tie in game two when they scored six runs in the third fueled by two-run hits by Garrett Mathes and Edgar Brito. But the Bucs bounced back with four runs of their own in the home half of the third to make it 6-4 Saints going into the fourth.
The Saints scored two more in the fourth on back-to-back homeruns by Cande (1st) and Brock Edge (2nd), but the Bucs fought back with three in the fourth and single runs in the fifth and sixth innings to get the win.
"We played two one-run games today with a lot of tough spots," said SF head coach Johnny Wiggs. "These type of games against quality opponents will make us a better team as we head into conference play."
Mathes, Cande, Edge and Kyler Marquis each had three hits on the day. Mathes extended his hitting streak to 14 games.
"We swung the bats well today with 23 hits in the two games and we need to keep that up moving forward," said Wiggs.
The Saints (14-3), presently ranked #2 in the Florida College System Activities Association coaches' poll and #12 in the National Junior College Athletics Association poll, will host Florida State College, Manatee-Sarasota on Monday with the first pitch scheduled for 3 p.m.
For all SF Athletics schedules, stats and more visit santafesaints.com.