VALDOSTA, Ga. – Despite collecting 11 hits and plating seven runs, the Saint Leo baseball team (15-24) could not overcome a Valdosta State 11-run first inning, as the Blazers were victorious 18-5, Tuesday evening from Billy Grant Field in Valdosta, Ga.
Leading the offensive charge for the Lions in the non-conference, make-up contest was Dustin Brown as he went 2-for-5 with two home runs and three RBI. Eugene Garnett Jr. followed with his own 2-for-4 performance, smacking a triple and his team-leading sixth home run, to go along with four RBI. Ryan Brnovich and J.C. Suarez also collected two hits apiece, while Ware Hart, Jovanni Fiallo, Blake Turner, and Kory Wan each had base knocks. In total, four Lions registered multiple hits.
The Blazers did the majority of their damage in the first inning, when they connected on eight hits and capitalized on three Lions’ errors to score their 11 runs. Four of their hits went for extra-bases, including a two-run blast by Decker just three batters into the game.
The Lions did their best to claw their way back into the contest, scoring five runs over the third, fourth, and fifth innings. The squad collected their first two runs of the game in the top of the third inning when Brown blasted a two-run home run over the right centerfield fence, scoring Suarez.
Garnett Jr. followed in the fourth inning with a two-RBI triple down the rightfield line to plate both Brnovich and Turner. Brown stepped to the plate an inning later and smashed his third home run of the season, and second of the night down the leftfield line. It marked the first two-home run game of Brown’s career.
Potential comeback hopes were diminished in the in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings when the Blazers combined to score three runs on two hits to extend their lead back to nine, 14-5.
The Blazers scored four more times over the course of the next two innings to make the score 18-5, before a two-run home run by Garnett Jr. in the ninth lifted the score to 18-7. The Blazers did not allow the Lions the opportunity to get any closer, solidifying the region win.
Austin Buck was tagged with the loss, as he dropped to 1-5 on the 2010 campaign.
Saint Leo returns to action on Friday, April 9th when they open a three-game, non-conference series with Palm Beach Atlantic. First pitch Friday is set for 6:00 p.m.