SAINT LEO, Fla. – It was a bit more of a test than the last time these two teams squared off, but the result was still the same as the Saint Leo baseball team defeated American International College 7-5 in non-conference action on Monday evening from Thomas B. Southard Stadium.
Two days removed from the 29-8 marathon win over the Yellow Jackets (1-3), the Lions changed their lineup, allowing some of their reserves to see a full game of action. With only their regularly starting shortstop Ryan Powers in the infield for the game, the Lions had a different look around the horn, but Powers would pick up the slack with a good night at the plate.
The junior would continue with the hot bat as he took the first pitch he saw in the fourth inning and hammered it deep over the left-field wall for a two-spot to even the game.
Powers’ homer answered two early runs from the visitors as an error to lead off the top of the third inning resulted in two runs for AIC. The error, in addition to three hits in the innings, allowed American International to score first and put the Lions in a two-run hole.
His homer also broke the seal on the SLU offense as Saint Leo (9-11) scored runs in three consecutive innings, taking a 7-3 lead into the late innings.
Once starting pitcher Aaron Brandt, who tossed 110 pitches in his outing, surrendered pitching duties to his bullpen, his relievers made the game more interesting as AIC scored a run in each of the final two innings.
With the score at 7-5 in Saint Leo’s favor, AIC saw a two-on, two-out situation in the bottom of the ninth met with SLU closer Austin Buck, who struck out Paul Maza to seal the fifth-straight win for the Lions.
Brandt (2-1) picked up the win, tossing seven innings and only allowing one earned run as he fanned five Yellow Jacket hitters.
Powers went 3-for-4 with the home run and three RBI as he improved his team-best batting average to .434 on the season.
The Yellow Jackets’ Dan Bassani homered to left-center in the sixth as he went 2-for-4 with two RBI.
The Lions will conclude the stretch of four games in four days with a non-conference tilt with Eckerd College on Tuesday night. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at Thomas B. Southard Stadium on the Saint Leo campus.