Gainesville, FL – The defending state champion and FCSAA #1 State College of Florida Manatees won two games against the #8 Saints (3-3) on Saturday afternoon, taking game one 3-2 and game two 2-1 in eight innings at Santa Fe Field.
Ashley Chapman was the hard luck loser in game one. She gave up three runs on just five hits and struck out eight. The Manatees jumped out to a three run lead early on and the Saints’ Geena Capitini trimmed the lead to 3-2 with a two run homer. That’s as close as SF would get however as SCF All-American pitcher Paige Matthews clamped down and held Santa Fe scoreless the rest of the way to secure the 3-2 win.
Capitini finished game one 2-for-3 with a homerun and two RBI, Rachel Hoeft was 1-for-2 with a double and Karla Claudio was 1-for-3.
“To our credit we gave SCF fits throughout the day,” said SF Coach Chris Ahern. “They returned their ace pitcher and Ashley [Chapman] matched her pitch for pitch most of the game. Other than one pitch bad pitch, Ashley really battled out there and did a nice job.”
In game two, Claudio was lights out on the mound but a lack of run support cost the Saints a win. Through eight innings of work, Claudio struck out 17 Manatee batters and allowed just two hits. With the score knotted at one at the start of the ninth the game went to an international tiebreaker. Each team started the inning with a runner at second base and SCF scored with their opportunity and the Saints left the runner stranded to end the game.
“In game two Karla was lights out and controlled the lineup up and down,” said Ahern. “She had a great outing and had we executed some little things, we could have come out on top in that game as well. It’s a good experience playing good teams early in the season. It gives our players a chance to see how they stack up against some of the best talent in the country. They did a great job overall and they will get better – and do more and better things as they do,” said Ahern.
The Saints continue their home stand on Tuesday, February 5 against Tallahassee CC at 2:00 and 4:00 PM.