SAINT LEO, Fla. – Senior Dale Slimick, playing in the final series of his career, blasted a solo, game-winning home run to deep-center field in the bottom of the 10th inning as he helped complete a six-run comeback as the Saint Leo baseball team defeated visiting Florida Tech 9-8 in game one in Sunshine State Conference action at a muggy Thomas B. Southard Stadium on Saturday afternoon. The magic did not carry over for Saint Leo in game two as the Panthers defeated the Lions 9-3 to split the first two games of the series.
The Lions battled back from two deficits or at least three runs as the Panthers scored single runs in the first, third and fifth innings to jump out to a 3-0 advantage.
Saint Leo erased that lead with three-run fifth inning that started with an Aaron McLamar home run. After Dustin Brown singled immediately following the homer, Eugene Garnett knotted the game with a shot over the right field fence.
The momentum swing that the Lions had quickly went away as Florida Tech responded with a five-run sixth inning, most of the runs crossing the plate after two errors help to prolong the inning.
Although things looked dim for Saint Leo, the Lions rallied in the bottom of the seventh as they used three singles, a double and a Tech error to tie the game at eight. The impressive response was sparked by a Kyle Hobbs RBI double and a Bobby Munoz two RBI single up the middle. Brown’s one-out, bases-loaded fielder’s choice scored Munoz to tie the game.
With the game tied, relief pitchers Caleb Fuddy and Reid Tilson held the Panthers scoreless through four innings, including the extra frame, to set up Slimick’s magic.
The senior Tilson picked up the win to improve to 1-1 for the year.
Game two did not have as good of an ending as Panther pitcher Jack Koch tossed a complete game, only allowing three runs on five hits and picked up the 9-3 win.
Both teams finish off their 2009 season as they square off in the final Sunshine State Conference game of the year at 1:00 p.m. at Thomas B. Southard Stadium. The Lions will also honor their outgoing senior class as they recognize their seven seniors in a ceremony before the game.
There will also be no admission in the final event of the 2008-09 school year, which will also be carried live on the Saint Leo Lions AudioCast Network.