Hugo Valdes and the Saints made Coach Johnny Wiggs 300th victory at Santa Fe a memorable one as they piled up 19 runs on 17 hits in a 19-9 seven inning win over Daytona State College on Monday in Gainesville. Valdes hit two deep homeruns and finished with seven RBI. The win also gives 499 career collegiate coaching victories. He could reach 500 on Wednesday when the Saints and Falcons meet again in Daytona.
Daytona were the ones who looked like they may run away with things early on as they piled up six runs in the first three innings to go ahead 6-0. FCSAA #1 SF (25-4, 7-1 MFC) answered in the third with four runs. Matt Allen came up with a huge play when he legged out an RBI infield single with two outs to keep the inning going, giving Valdes a chance to do some damage. On the second pitch of his at bat, Valdes nailed one over the left field fence to make it 6-4.
The Falcons kept their rally going in the fourth, plating three more runs to push the margin to 9-4.
Santa Fe’s Kyle Phillips made it a four run game with an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth, and the flood gates opened for SF in the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth Santa Fe sent 16 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs on nine hits. Hugo Valdes had two RBI hits in the inning, including another three run homer. Cole Parks tripled in a pair of runs in the inning.
Alex Kennell (4-0) shut down the Falcons from there, throwing three shutout innings for his fourth win of the season in just four appearances. The SF offense put the game away in the seventh with four runs on just one hit and two DSC errors.
Valdes finished 3-for-5 with two homers (4) and seven RBI to lead the offense. The eight and nine hitters for Santa Fe (Cole Parks and Kyle Phillips) combined to go 6-for-10 with five RBI and five runs scored. Eight players had at least one hit for SF, and six had multiple hits.
The Saints and Falcons will play the rubber game of their three game series on Wednesday in Daytona at 3 p.m.