Central Florida saw a late lead evaporate Friday in a 10-5 loss at Santa Fe.
The loss keeps the Patriots (8-23-1, 1-5 Mid-Florida Conference) well off the pace in the conference, which sends just its top two teams to the postseason. Three MFC foes entered Friday's action with a single loss apiece, including Lake-Sumter, CF's opponent in a home-and-home series next week.
First, however, the Patriots host a Monday doubleheader at noon against Michigan visitor Macomb CC. A win in one of those games will give 17th-year head coach Marty Smith his elusive 500th career victory and place him in rare company among NJCAA coaches. At the start of the spring season, only 49 other active coaches had achieved 500 wins, including just four at Florida programs.
Smith entered this season with a career record of 491-349-3 since taking over the program in 1995. His tenure includes a pair of FCCAA state championships, won in 1997 and 1998, and five MFC titles. He was an all-conference middle infielder for the Patriots under Dr. Roger "Marty" Martinsen, and went on to join Dr. Martinsen's staff as an assistant and eventually replace his former coach.
CF entered the seventh inning of Friday's game with a 5-4 lead that quickly disappeared behind a late Saints onslaught. Bradley Goodson had 2 hits, including a triple, and 2 RBI, Scott Schaub had 2 hits and scored a run and Josh Whitchurch hit a double and drove in a run to pace a solid Patriot offensive effort.