SAINT LEO, Fla. – Try as they might, it still seemed like the Saint Leo baseball team could not get the breaks as they found themselves on the wrong end of a doubleheader sweep by the visiting 4th-ranked University of Tampa Spartans as UT posted 8-2 and 5-2 victories in Easter weekend action at Thomas B. Southard Stadium.
Both games saw the Lions fall victim to the long ball as the powerful Tampa bats blasted seven homeruns off of SLU pitching. In both games, each time it appeared like the Lions were clawing back into the game, a long ball from Tampa would swing momentum back into the visitor’s hands.
A prime example of the Lions’ misfortune for the weekend came on the final play of the entire series. Down by three and with two outs on the board, second baseman Ryan Brnovich ripped a shot that dropped out of a diving Tampa left fielder’s glove. Brnovich, trying to stretch the double into a triple, saw the UT outfielder pick up the ball and heave it toward third. A quit cut by the shortstop and the ball arrived at third mere milliseconds before Brnovich’s left hand. The tag and out call by the umpire ended the sweep in Tampa’s favor.
Marshall Stalvey (2-5) and Aaron Brandt (4-2) picked up the losses for the Lions while Brnovich had the hot bat for SLU as he went a combined 5-for-9 with two RBI.
Tampa pitchers AJ Pinera (4-1) and Josh Bowman (6-1) each picked up wins as they helped the Spartans stay perfect in the Sunshine State Conference.
Mike Schwartz was the best performer for the Spartans as he went 4-for-7 with three RBI and two homers. He finished the series with four homers and six hits.
The Lions will now travel to Valdosta, Ga. on Tuesday evening to make up a rain out earlier in the season. Saint Leo will battle Valdosta State with the first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.