TAMPA, Fla. – It was a night where pitching, hitting and defense all meshed and the final product was a 13-3 victory as the Saint Leo baseball team trounced host and 13th ranked University of Tampa in Sunshine State Conference action from the UT Baseball Complex on Friday evening.
Bobby Munoz, coming off his grand slam in Tuesday’s win over Rollins, saw one pitch from UT starter Danny Keefe and he deposited Keefe’s fastball into the netting over the left-field fence. Munoz’s homer put the Lions up 1-0 before the Spartans had an opportunity to bat.
Pitching needed to be a strength for the Lions as they were facing the hot UT bats and Jeff Bloomer had the perfect prescription to cool the Spartan sticks. Apart from one bad pitch in the third inning that Tampa (30-12, 8-5 SSC) batter Jared Simon knocked over the left-field wall to knot the game at three, Bloomer shut the Spartans down through six strong innings. He spread out three runs on 10 hits to even his record at 2-2 on the season.
The Lions’ bullpen, a weak-point for SLU at some points during the 2009 season, saw Caleb Fuddy and Eric Nickolaison combine to toss three shutout innings to get the win.
While Saint Leo (15-27, 5-11 SSC) pitching was getting the job done on the hill, Saint Leo batters were pounding out hits off of UT pitching. Seven of the nine Lion batters managed a multi-hit night as the Green & Gold managed to score runs in every inning but the third and seventh frames.
Munoz, Aaron McLamar, Dale Slimmick and J.C. Suarez all posted three hits apiece while Kyle Hobbs, Dustin Brown and Eugene Garnett had two hits each.
Combine the Lions’ 19 hits with aggressive base running from Head Coach Russ McNickle, and the Lions would run away with their first series-opening game win of 2009.
Saint Leo and Tampa will resume their series on Saturday afternoon with doubleheader action at the UT Baseball Field. First pitch of game one is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and will be carried live on the Saint Leo Lions AudioCast Network.