LAKELAND -- From the outset of Monday's state tournament elimination game, the State College of Florida baseball team was determined to stay alive at Lakeland's Joker Marchant Stadium.
Using a healthy dose of timely hitting and a masterful pitching performance from No. 4 starter Casey Mulholland, the Manatees eliminated Seminole State College of Florida 8-1.
The victory pushes SCF (44-12) on the brink of earning a trip to the Junior College World Series at the end of May in Grand Junction, Colo.
The Manatees play at 10 a.m. and must win two games to be crowned state champs and book the trip out west.
On Monday, SCF received multi-hit games from Julian Santos, Conner Hale and Lakewood Ranch High alum Andrew McNett.
McNett's double in the top of the third inning started the SCF onslaught as the Manatees ended up scoring twice in the frame.
They later plated a run in the fourth and two more in the fifth to hold a 5-1 lead over the Raiders, the team responsible for sending SCF to the loser's bracket after they won their tourney opener last Friday.
The Manatees responded by getting solid pitching performances over the weekend and did so again in the revenge game against the Raiders.
Mulholland kept Seminole State in check all game as he went seven innings and allowed just one earned run.
He also struck out six batters against three walks and scattered four hits.
After Mulholland, there wasn't any dropoff with SCF's bullpen. Jarred Smith and Casey Eskew tossed scoreless innings in relief and the Manatees added three insurance runs in the top of the ninth to close out the Raiders.
Santos drove in a run with a single, and the LSU-bound Hale plated two with a triple.
That capped SCF's scoring and was enough to send the Manatees into Tuesday's action brimming with confidence after fighting their way through the loser's bracket after the first day of action.