Saint Leo, Fla. (April 18, 2008) – The Saint Leo University baseball team (26-17, 7-10 SSC) was edged 3-2 by No. 5 Tampa (32-7-1, 11-5 SSC) on Friday night in the first game of a three-game Sunshine State Conference series at Southard Stadium.
Tampa starting pitcher Kevin Ferguson outdueled Saint Leo starter Ryan Clark (Sr., Tampa, Fla.) in a tight contest. Ferguson surrendered just one run in six innings of work to pick up the win (5-2). Meanwhile, Clark went the distance allowing just three runs on nine hits and striking out eight. Tampa closer Anthony Perez earned his 15th save of the season for the Spartans.
The Lions opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when Kyle Hobbs (Jr., Dade City, Fla.) led off the inning with a double to right center. With one out, T.J. Alonzo (Jr., Tampa, Fla.) doubled to almost the exact same spot to score Hobbs and give Saint Leo a 1-0 lead.
Tampa took the lead in the fourth, as the Spartans plated a pair of runs on an RBI double by 3B Jose Jimenez and an RBI groundout by 1B Nolan Brannon. Jimenez then delivered a solo home run in the top of the eighth inning to give UT a 3-1 advantage.
Saint Leo began its comeback in the bottom of the eighth inning, as Yunior Tabares (Sr., Tampa, Fla.) connected on a solo home run to make it a 3-2 game. Although the Lions had the tying run at second and game-winning run at first with one out in the ninth, they were unable to rally any closer.
The same two teams will meet again tomorrow in a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. at Southard Stadium. Prior to the game the nine Saint Leo seniors will be honored on Senior Day.