St. Petersburg, Fla. (March 23, 2007) – The Saint Leo University baseball team (18-12, 3-4 SSC) defeated Eckerd College (10-12, 1-6 SSC) by a score of 5-3 in the opening game of a Sunshine State Conference Series Friday night in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Saint Leo starting pitcher Ryan Clark (Jr., Tampa, Fla.) went 8.0 strong innings, allowing three runs on 12 hits to improve to 6-2 on the season.  Eric Spicer (Sr., Jacksonville, Fla.) was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while catcher Ricky Nolan (Jr., Seminole, Fla.) was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run.

The Lions fell behind when Eckerd scored a run in the bottom of the third, but Saint Leo battled back to tie the score in the top of the fourth on an RBI single by Matt Prowant (Sr., Dade City, Fla.).

Saint Leo then took its first lead of the night with a three-run fifth inning.  Both Spicer and Devon Cason (Jr., Tampa, Fla.) registered RBI in the inning, as Jerry Gonzalez (Sr., Tampa, Fla.) also reached on a bunt single to stretch his hitting streak to 13 games.

The Tritons made it a two-run game by plating a run in the seventh, but the Lions regained their three-run lead with an insurance run in the top of the ninth.  After a pair of singles to start the ninth, SLU closer Matt Smith (Sr., Dade City, Fla.) came on in relief of Clark to record the final three outs and secure his second save of the season.
The same two teams will return to the diamond tomorrow to conclude their three-game series with a 1:00 p.m. doubleheader in St. Petersburg.