LAKELAND, Fla. - The Saint Leo baseball team had put themselves in a great position to get their first win of the 2009 season through the first seven innings of play. In fact, the Lions were just four outs away from wrapping up an upset over Florida Southern College when the Moccasins exploded for six runs in the eighth innings to send SLU to a 8-5 loss to the Mocs in non-conference action on Tuesday evening at FSC's Henley Field.
The Lions (0-4) were just four outs away from the victory when the Florida Southern bats exploded. The Moccasins sent 11 batters to the plate in an eighth inning that saw six runs score off of five hits and a throwing error. The Florida Southern (3-3) half of the inning started promising as the Lions quickly got two outs on the scoreboard. After that, though, the Moccasins saw the next eight batters safely reach base as the Lions could not get the inning's final out. Saint Leo would send three pitchers to the mound in the eighth, but would head into the next inning three runs down.
Saint Leo would put the first batter on base in the ninth inning as Dale Slimick singled up the middle, but Moccasin closer Daniel Tillman got the next three Lions out in order to close the game and give the win to the hosts.
Although the finish was not what Saint Leo had wanted, the Lions opened up scoring in a big second inning that saw five Lions cross the plate. SLU quickly figured out Florida Southern starter Troy Graybill as they managed to bat through the lineup. With three runs already across, the biggest play of the inning came from a lapse on the Moccasin defense as an infield fly with two outs was dropped by FSC third baseman Wade Kirkland, allowing two more Lions to cross the plate.
The Mocs would plate a run in the bottom of the third, the only one they would score off of Lion starter Aaron Brandt as he tossed five innings and allowed just three hits.
Florida Southern scored again in the bottom of the seventh before moving into the eighth and deciding frame.
Ryan Wolfe (1-0) picked up the win as he secured the final two outs of the eighth, and was the pitcher of record when FSC took the lead, but it was a team effort as five Moccasins hurlers took to the Henley Field mound.
The Lions, who also sent five pitchers to the mound, saw newcomer Cody Johnson get saddled with the loss, his first career decision.
Offensively, the night saw all six of the Lions' hits spread out through six different batters, with Slimick going 1-for-2 with an RBI. The Moccasins saw three batters get multiple hits as Florida Southern tallied 10 total hits on the night.
After a week of play, the Lions will finally get to sit in the home dugout on Thursday as they host the Eckerd College Tritons in non-conference action from Southard Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.