That was not the case on Wednesday.
Miguel Useche flied out to center field, designated hitter Matthew Cedarburg lined out to left field and outfielder Kevin Kilpatrick ended the game on a line out to center field.
The 6-5 loss to No. 19 Santa Fe College is the No. 13 Patriots’ third in a row and fourth in their last six. It’s also the second straight loss to the Saints for Central Florida (32-12), who will face Santa Fe again on Friday on the road.
“We had it the other day in the seventh or eighth and the same thing happened, but you know, they hit it hard,” Patriots coach Marty Smith said. “(Usche) just got under it and fly out to right. (Cedarburg) hits his hard, (Kilpatrick) hits his hard, goes right to ‘em.”
Santa Fe drew first blood in the first inning for the second game in a row. With runners on first and second with two outs, outfielder Coy Phillips lined a single through the right side of the infield to plate the game’s first run. The Saints then doubled their lead in the second inning with a two-out RBI double.
Central Florida knocked home a run in the top of the second, but Santa Fe blew the game wide open with a four-run fourth inning.
After Pats starter Logan Adams retired the first batter, he plunked the next two before a single scored another run for the Saints. Smith then yanked Adams, who was credited with three earned runs on five hits and two walks with four strikeouts.
Reliever Logan Clayton was one strike away from getting out of the inning before giving up a three-run bomb to third baseman Luis Rodriguez that nearly cleared the road behind Goodlett Field’s tall left-field fence.
Saints starter Robb Adams cruised through the first five innings, but he ran into trouble in the sixth. With runners on second and third and two outs, first baseman Garett Wallace smacked an RBI single to center field to bring the Patriots within four. Kilpatrick then touched home on a wild pitch to make it 6-3.
Clayton and fellow relievers Francisco Mateo and Evan Michelson held the Saints to just two hits after the fourth inning, while Robb was still on the mound heading into the bottom of the eighth. Robb’s 119th pitch of the day was also his last, as CF shortstop Edrick Felix clobbered a two-run home run to left field to make it a one-run game. But that would be the end of Central Florida’s rally.
“Just haven’t gotten a really good, quality start in the last couple weeks, just haven’t gotten a good, quality start,” Smith said. “Haven’t gotten a clutch hit when we needed to, haven’t been able to put hitters away that we’ve gotten two strikes on and, you know, sometimes you got to tip your hat to the other team. They hit good pitches for hits and battle and win those little battles that end up winning you the game.”