ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Saint Leo baseball team managed a second-day spilt with Eckerd College in Sunshine State Conference action from South St. Petersburg as the Lions won the opening game 14-9, but dropped the day’s second game 10-7.
The Lions fall to 7-15 overall and are now 2-4 in the SSC while the host Tritons, who get the SSC series win thanks to their victory on Friday night, improve to 12-8 and 2-1 in conference.
Despite its final score, Game One started as a pitcher’s battle with SLU’s J.C. Suarez and EC’s Jay Moroff squaring off and only allowing a few runs to cross through the first four frames. In fact, Saint Leo held a slim 4-2 lead as the game moved into the sixth inning.
Once the starters began to tire, both coaches turned to their turned bullpens and that is where both offenses began to heat up.
After Eckerd retook the lead, scoring three runs in the bottom of the seventh to make the score 6-5, the Lions answered the top of the eighth inning by sending 12 batters to the plate.
The Saint Leo eighth inning featured six singles, two doubles, and a wild pitch that, combined, scored eight Lions and put the game out of reach for the hosts.
Game Two saw the Green & Gold lead 5-1 halfway through the third inning, and it looked like the Lions would easily cruise to the seven-inning victory, maintaining a 7-4 advantage with just nine outs remaining, but Eckerd had other ideas.
The Tritons would drop a five-spot on the Lions in the fifth as SLU pitchers surrendered four singles and two doubles, the biggest, a Chris Clinton double to left-center field, scored two Eckerd runners and put the score at 9-7.
EC added one more run in the sixth and shut Saint Leo out through the final two innings to rally for the win.
Aaron McLamar had an impressive day for the Lions as he went 3-for-4 with a double, three walks, three runs scored and a RBI. Kyle Hobbs joined him, going 5-for-8 with a homer, a triple, three RBI and four runs scored. Bobby Munoz and Anthony Santa each posted four RBI in the day’s split.
For the Lions, Matt Smith (2-2) picked up the Game One win, while the evening game’s starter, Seth Fowler (1-3) would get the loss.
Although Smith was the pitcher of record in the first game, another quality outing by J.C. Suarez should not go unnoticed. He tossed 6.2 innings only allowing three runs through six complete. He began to tire in the seventh allowing a few more in that inning, but the Lions managed to rally and pick up the win.
Saint Leo will return home on Wednesday as they face Assumption College. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Thomas B. Southard Stadium and will be carried live on the Saint Leo Lions AudioCast Network.