SAINT LEO, Fla. – It was a rough Sunday afternoon for the Saint Leo baseball team as the visiting Barry Buccaneers swept the Lions, winning game one 5-2 and stealing away game two in the final inning, getting the 8-7 victory.
Saint Leo (3-6) got a solid pitching performance out of junior Marshall Stalvey in game one, who tossed eight complete innings only allowing a lone hit to the visitors until his last frame. The newcomer kept the Buccaneers at bay in the opener, but unfortunately was matched nearly pitch-for-pitch by Barry’s Brad McAllister.
McAllister also tossed eight innings, and although he allowed seven hits to the Lions, only surrendered two runs.
Stalvey came out of the gates cold as he walked the first batter of the game, who would eventually score on a deep foul fly-out to right field. The Lions would tie the score in the bottom of the second when sophomore Myron Kirchner slapped an opposite-field home run for Saint Leo’s first home round-tripper of the year.
With the score knotted and the game flying through the middle innings, Stalvey would crack the 100-pitch mark in the top of the eighth as he again started the frame with a leadoff walk. A double up the middle would score that runner, and a following single would plate another run, putting the visitors up 3-1.
Freshman Ryan Brnovich led off the bottom of the eighth with a homer to right field to cut the deficit to just one, but the Bucs would respond with two rally-killing runs off of Corey Marcus in the top of the ninth.
Despite the strong effort, Stalvey (0-2) dropped his second decision of the season while McAllister (1-2) picked up the win.
Game two was a heartbreaker for the Lions as their bullpen reverted to last year’s form, surrendering a four-run advantage in the final inning as they watched the Buccaneers get the series sweep.
Despite giving up two runs in the opening frame, sophomore Aaron Brandt would settle down to toss over four scoreless innings as the Lions took a 3-2 lead.
After surrendering the ball to the SLU bullpen, Brandt would watch as the Lions plated four runs in a bottom of the sixth that took over 30 minutes. The inning featured three hits, two sacrifice bunts, a suicide squeeze and a fielding error. Once a deflated Buccaneer team recorded the final out, the Lions had a seemingly comfortable 7-3 lead with just three outs left.
The top of the final frame saw another leadoff walk begin the inning in poor fashion. The Lions would go through three pitchers in the inning, but after the Bucs brought the score to within one run, first baseman Joaquin Valdes ripped a shot down the left field baseline that would score two runners, giving the visitors the lead.
A stunned SLU team managed the final out, but could not manage to get the tying run across in the bottom of the seventh as Kory Wan struck out swinging with a runner on second.
The decision went to Jamie Tutko (0-2) as he was the pitcher of record when the Bucs retook the lead. Brett Hammaker (1-0) earned the win, finishing off the bottom of the sixth.
Despite the losses, Kirchner was the Lions' bright spot as he went 3-for-8 with the homer and four RBI.
The Buccaneers’ reliever Scott Sexton notched three saves as the Buccaneers swept the three-game series from the Lions.
Saint Leo will next face Warner University as the Royals visit Southard Stadium on Tuesday evening. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.