SAINT LEO, Fla. – After a bit of a pep talk by Head Coach Russ McNickle, the Saint Leo baseball team responded from a 4-1 Game One loss to score 23 runs in an offensive barrage that saw the final score end at 23-2 in the nightcap. Seth Fowler (1-2) managed to pick up the win in the second game, his first in the Green & Gold. He managed to go five innings and only surrender one earned run.
Not only was their run production 23-times greater than Game 1, the Lions also posted 20 more hits than the five they got in the day’s opener.
After the Game One disappointment, Coach McNickle flipped Fowler the ball in hopes he would spark the Lions. Unfortunately for Saint Leo, the start of the nightcap was the same as the earlier game where Merrimack plated a run before the Lions had a chance to bat.
Fowler would settle down after the first inning and begin to get in a rhythm, and the Lion bats would respond in a big way.
A three-run first inning by Saint Leo that featured two RBI singles and a steal of home plate seemed like a windfall of runs compared to Game One, but it was still nothing compared to the SLU second inning.
After the Warriors went down in order in the top of the frame, Saint Leo sent seven batters to the plate before Merrimack was able to register the inning’s first out. By the time the visitors from Massachusetts managed to get three outs, the Lions had scored nine runs on nine hits and sent 14 batters up to the dish.
It seemed fundamental after that point as the Lions led 12-1, but the Saint Leo bats were too hot to handle as they struck for three more runs in the third and the fifth and five in the sixth.
On the mound, Fowler (1-2) would toss five strong innings, only surrendering one run and five hits. He would turn the ball over to Ryan Arena and the Lions’ bullpen for the final two frames. Arena tossed a perfect sixth and Ryan Helms came in to pitch the final inning.
The first game was a display of offensive and defensive frustration as the Lions’ bats could not get going and two fielding errors at important moments of the game hurt Saint Leo in the end.
Another solid performance by freshman hurler Aaron Brandt went unrewarded as he tossed seven innings and only surrendered two earned runs on four total, but was handed his third loss of the season.
Offensively, newcomer Jovanni Fiallo went 5-for-10 for the day as he also plated a run and posted two RBI. Every Saint Leo starter got a hit in the second game as the Lions posted 30 hits for the day.
The Lions only have enough time to wash the home uniforms as they take to Southard Stadium on Sunday for another doubleheader, this time against Saint Anselm College. First pitch is set for noon.