BOCA RATON, Fla. – Back on the winning side of the scoreboard, the Saint Leo baseball team won their first Sunshine State Conference series of 2010 as they closed out their three-game set with host Lynn University by defeating the Fighting Knights 13-11 on Sunday afternoon.
Saint Leo (12-12, 2-4 SSC) got on the board in the opening frame when J.C. Suarez led off the game with a double, but the Lions were stymied just a bit as they loaded the bases but could only muster one run when Suarez scored on a double-play.
The SLU lead was short-lived as the Fighting Knights evened the game in the bottom of the frame with a two out, solo home run to right center field.
Lynn's (9-13-1, 1-2 SSC) offense opened up in the second and third innings with a three-run home run in the second and then followed with a two-run double off the wall in left center, putting LU ahead 6-2. Another two-run double in the third gave the host Knights an 8-2 advantage.
The five-run lead didn't last long. The Green & Gold's Kory Wan drove in a run in the fourth, and then added a two-run double as part of a five run fifth that tied the game at eight in the fifth inning.
Lynn got back on top in the home half of the fifth with an RBI single up the middle, but the Lions regained the lead in the sixth with a Jovanni Fiallo sacrifice fly and a Wan RBI double. Saint Leo added three key runs in the top of the ninth, taking advantage of two LU errors.
Despite a two-out, two-run homer from Lynn, it would be too-little, too-late as Cody Johnson struck out the final Fighting Knight to claim the series’ win.
With seven of the Lions’ nine starters in the lineup getting multiple hits against the defending national champs, Saint Leo was led by Wan, who went 3-for-4 with four RBI and two runs scored. Suarez, Blake Turner and Ware Hart all managed three hits in the Lions’ 21-hit outing.
Sophomore Aaron Brandt (3-1) was credited with the win after tossing the required five innings, but C. Johnson came in to relieve the SLU starter and tossed a gem in the final four innings, only surrendering two runs on three hits as he picked up his first save of the season.
The Lions will now travel to St. Petersburg on Tuesday for a recently-added game against Eckerd College. The Lions and Tritons will get underway at 7:00 p.m. at the Turley Athletic Complex on the Eckerd College campus.