WINTER PARK, Fla. – The Saint Leo baseball team came up just short in their bid to go 1-0 in the Sunshine State Conference as the Lions fell 3-1 to host Rollins College in both teams’ initial SSC action of the 2009 season. The sixth inning proved the difference-maker in the chilly Friday night game at Alfond Stadium.
Neither team got anything going in the first few innings, but in the top of third inning, the Lions threatened to score placing runners on first and second with no outs. Catcher Jason Hamm led off the inning with a single through the left side, before second baseman JD Cook drew a walk.
Things got interesting on the following play when leadoff man Kyle Hobbs roped a shot to Rollins’ third baseman Ryan Luker, who caught the line drive and tagged the runner that was on second before firing the ball to first for the rare triple play.
Finally in the sixth Rollins got on the board when shortstop Justin Yount laced a single to left field. Senior right fielder Jesse More continued the rally with another single to left. Center fielder Taylor Ferguson misplayed a bunt attempt to record the first out of the inning on the ensuing at bat. With one out, Bryan Bennett ripped a single through the right side of the infield, scoring Yount. With runners on the corners and one out, Luker crushed a shot to deep right that allowed More to score from third.
Saint Leo retaliated in the top of the next inning when shortstop Bobby Munoz started off the inning with a single, and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Munoz eventually scored on a Jonathan Duncan groundout to second after advancing to third on a ground ball.
Leading 2-1, the Tars added an insurance run capitalizing on an error at third base in the eighth inning. Yount again led off with a single and moved over to second on a groundout. After a fly out, Bennett slapped a roller down the third base line that was mishandled, which scored Yount from second.
Rollins starter Stephen Hiscock (3-0) went seven innings allowing five hits and one run with seven strikeouts to secure his third win of the season.
Relief pitcher Marc Hewett picked up his first career save closing out the game in the final two innings without surrendering a hit and striking out three Lion batters.
For Saint Leo, Aaron Brandt (0-2) picked up his second loss despite an outstanding outing, going seven innings giving up two runs.
The Tars and Lions will be back in action, Saturday, Feb. 21 at 3 p.m. for a doubleheader at Alfond Stadium.