May 9, 2015
Lakeland, FL – Tom Watson gave up three runs in the first inning on two homeruns, but shut Polk State College down for the next eight innings, going the distance in a 7-3 Santa Fe win. Watson tossed 138 pitches and struck out six.
"I started off a little rough in the first inning, and after they scored those three runs I knew I had to be better," said Tom Watson. "Last year with Chipola I didn't do my job in my start at the state tournament, and I told myself I wasn't going to let that happen again. That game was actually a year ago to the day, so it really stuck with me to pitch hard all the way to the last out."
Watson improved his record to 8-1 on the strength of his shut down pitching over the final eight innings, and some timely hitting by his teammates.
"That was an unbelievable, gutsy performance," said SF Coach Johnny Wiggs. "I've always said one of the toughest things to deal with as a pitcher is trying to regroup after giving up multiple runs in the first inning. Your new goal has to be to give your club a quality start. I'll be honest, I didn't imagine eight shutout innings."
The Saints (31-11) offense slowly chipped away at the Eagle lead, scoring one in the second on a balk, and another in the third to make it 3-2.
In the sixth, the flood gates opened and SF put four runs on the board on three hits, highlighted by a two out, two run single by catcher Matt Allen.
Santa Fe added an insurance run on a triple down the right field line by Allen, scoring Chandler Rodriguez.
"We didn't swing the bats great, but we got some timely hitting when we needed it," said Wiggs. "The sixth inning was of course the big blow, and that gave Tom even more energy."
The Saints racked up their seven runs on 11 hits, despite leaving 10 men on base. Matt Allen was 3-for-4 with four RBI, Tyler Kinney was 3-for-5 with a RBI and two runs, Mike Castilla finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored, and Cole Parks was 2-for-3 with a RBI.
SF will now move on to play Palm Beach State College on Sunday, May 10 at 1:00 PM in another elimination game.
The tournament is double elimination and every game can be seen live at www.psblive.com. For full tournament details, visit http://thefcsaasports.com/championships/fcsaa_baseball_tournament
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For complete schedules and more information on Saints Baseball, please visit www.santafesaints.com. To see game photos and other updates, follow Santa Fe College Athletics on Facebook.