It was an old fashioned pitcher's duel for the first seven innings, after that it was anybody's ball game.
After leading through the first seven innings the Santa Fe Saints needed every bit of a six-run rally in the eighth to pull out a 9-8 win over State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota to get their eighth straight win Monday afternoon in Gainesville.
Luis Rodriguez put the Saints on the scoreboard with a moon-shot home run over the scoreboard in the first inning and Jonathan Logsdon hit a solo home run in the fourth to give SF a 3-0 lead. Meanwhile Saints starter Devin Hemenway way cruising along, allowing just one run through seven innings. But in the eighth, everything changed.
"Hemenway threw the ball really well for seven innings but we let things get away from us a little in the eighth and ninth," said SF head coach Johnny Wiggs. "But I am proud of the way our hitters responded in the eighth."
The Manatees (4-5) knocked Hemenway out of the game with a pair of singles to start the eighth inning and put up four runs before the dust settled to take a 5-3 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Caleb Stafford had a bases loaded, RBI single and Nick Herndon followed with a two-run single to put the Saints back in front. Rodriguez would also drive in two runs with a single and the Saints looked back in control with a 9-5 lead.
But the Manatees scored three more times in the top of the ninth and had the go ahead runners on base when Emanuel Fernandez closed the game out with strikeout to earn his second save of the year. Jake Blair (3-0) got the win.
Chase Frady had three hits in the game for the Saints while Rodriguez had two. Rodriguez and Herndon each drove in three runs.
"Rodriguez and Herndon continue to lead us offensively and it was great to see Frady have a good day at the plate. We need him to hit consistently for us to be successful," said Wiggs.
The Saints (9-2), presently ranked fifth in the state and 20th in the nation, will travel to Tampa to take on Hillsborough Community College Tuesday before returning home to host Abraham Baldwin on Friday at 3 pm.
For all SF athletics schedules, stats and more visit santafesaints.com.