SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo baseball team managed to keep the game close throughout, but the visiting bats proved too much as the Lions fell to No. 6 Tampa 11-3 in non-conference action from Thomas B. Southard Stadium on a comfortable Wednesday evening.
After a scoreless first inning, the Spartans jumped on Saint Leo starting pitcher Henry Johnson in the second as two-straight hits to open the frame put men at second and third with no outs. Catcher Mike Blanke advanced the game’s first run home when he hit a sacrifice fly to right. The Spartans’ second run of the inning would second with a two-out single by leadoff hitter Correy Figueroa.
The deciding inning for the Lions turned out to be the third as the visitors, holding a 2-0 lead, blasted two multi-run homers to jump out to a 7-0 lead and gain full control of the game. During the inning Tampa rightfielder Larry Walicki roped a 1-1 pitch over the right-centerfield wall for a three-run round tripper. Later in the inning, centerfielder Dylan Brown would connect on the first pitch of the at-bat for a two-run shot to left.
The Lions would finally plate a run in the fourth inning when Eugene Garnett Jr. led off with a double to right center. He would make it around to score when Ware Hart pushed an RBI single into left field.
After a two-run sixth, the Lions had cut the Tampa lead to just 8-3 as the game headed into the final three frames, but the visiting Spartans would post a three run ninth inning to keep the Lions from trying to put together a last at-bat rally.
The Spartans would get nine of their 11 runs on the long ball as UT hit four homers on the evening, including two three-run blasts.
Hart would go 1-for-4 as he posted two RBI in the Lions’ seven-hit evening.
H. Johnson (3-1) would be the pitcher of record as he saw his first loss of the season in a rotation that would see five Lions toe the rubber.
Saint Leo will remain home as they welcome back the Barry Buccaneers for a weekend Sunshine State Conference series beginning on Friday night. The Lions and Bucs will get underway with first pitch scheduled for 6:00 p.m. on Friday night at Thomas B. Southard Stadium on the Saint Leo campus.