(Photo courtesy of Thomas Gaines, Behind the Scenez Media)
PALATKA- The College of Central Florida baseball team couldn't quite solve St. Johns River State on Wednesday evening in a battle of the top two teams in the Mid-Florida Conference.
CF (29-15, 14-6) stranded nine runners and squandered an excellent start from Boomer Biegalski in a 2-1 loss to the Vikings.
The Patriots, who entered the game just ½ game behind SJRSC, fell to 0-4 in Palatka over the past two years.
Christian Khawam pulled CF to within one in the fifth with a run-scoring single, but the Vikings' bullpen was outstanding. Patrick Duester tossed 2 2/3 innings of hitless relief for the save.
Duester recorded a pair of strikeouts in the seventh and left the bases loaded to preserve the lead for the Vikings and help Mitchell Cody (6-2) earn the win. In relief, Duester recorded four strikeouts and walked just one.
The Vikings made the plays to extend their edge to 1 ½ games for the lead in the MFC.
After SJRSC scored once in the fourth, Tyler Humphreys crushed his second home run of the season against CF to put the hosts up 2-0. Humphreys is now 9-for-32 with three homers lifetime against the Patriots.
SJRSC (33-12, 15-4), though, had its struggles overall against CF.
Biegalski (7-3) went eight innings and allowed just two runs on seven hits. The freshman didn't walk a batter and struck out six. He's allowed just three runs in 16 innings of work against SJRSC.
Earlier this season, Biegalski went nine innings to key a 3-2 win by CF in Ocala over SJRSC, but this time around the Patriots couldn't get the key hit.
The Patriots, who scored 43 runs over their last three games, went 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position.
CF, which out-hit SJRSC 8-7, was led at the plate by N.J. Williamson (2-for-3, run scored), Khawam (1-for-4, RBI), Colby Brown (2-for-4) and Collin Woody (double). Khawam is now 8-for-18 with four RBI this season against the Vikings, while Williamson (7-for-14) and Brown (6-for-11) also continued their strong play against SJRSC.
CF heads back to the diamond on Friday at 3 p.m. in a non-conference match up against Pasco-Hernando.