Melbourne, Fla. (March 7, 2008) – The Saint Leo University baseball team (16-6, 1-0 SSC) used a big first inning to pick up a 26-6 win at Florida Tech (15-5-1, 2-2 SSC) in the Lions’ 2008 Sunshine State Conference opener Friday in Melbourne, Fla.  The win was the sixth straight for Saint Leo.

Several Saint Leo players had a big day at the plate, as the Lions pounded out a season-high 25 hits.  Each Saint Leo starter had multiple-hits in the game, and each also registered at least one RBI.

Four Saint Leo players homered, including senior Brandin Daniel (Punta Gorda, Fla.) who went 3-for-5 with seven RBI, a grand slam, a double and three runs scored.  Bobby Munoz (Jr., Tampa, Fla.) and T.J. Alonzo (Jr., Tampa, Fla.) both went 3-for-6 and homered, as Alonzo’s three-run blast in the seventh was his team-leading 12th home run of the season.

The Lions got off to a fast start with a nine-run first inning, as Saint Leo sent a total of 13 batters to the plate and totaled eight hits in the inning.  After Kyle Hobbs (Jr., Dade City, Fla.) led off the game with a walk, he stole second base to put himself in scoring position.  The Lions then strung together six straight singles and had eight RBI singles in the inning, as all but one player in the lineup registered a hit in the inning.

SLU also plated eight runs in the seventh inning, and five more in the eighth.  A three-run double in the seventh from Daniel was followed by Alonzo’s three-run shot.  Daniel then connected on his grand slam in the eighth before the next batter, Dale Slimick (Jr., Sarasota, Fla.), rounded out the scoring with a solo shot.

Saint Leo starter Ryan Clark (Sr., Tampa, Fla.) picked up the win to improve to 2-4 on the season.  The lefty went 7.0 innings, striking out seven and allowing five runs on nine hits.  Eric Nickolaison (Jr., Spring Hill, Fla.) and Santi Arencibia (So., Key West, Fla.) finished off the game, allowing one run on one hit between the two.

The SSC series will conclude tomorrow in Melbourne, as the two teams will square off in a doubleheader beginning at noon.