SAINT LEO, Fla. – They waited all season, but the Saint Leo baseball team was finally able to rely on their pitching staff through 16 innings as two SLU pitchers tossed complete games as the Lions posted a sweep of Eckerd College on Sunday night. In the senior day wins, the Lions claimed 8-0 and 2-1 Sunshine State Conference victories to close their season out in winning fashion.
With the wins, the Lions hit the 20-win mark and finish 20-34 overall and 6-18 in the SSC while Eckerd, who also concluded their 2010 season, finish 20-28 and 3-21 in conference.
Game one belonged entirely to starting pitcher Marshall Stalvey as he tossed his third complete game of the season. Keeping EC batters off balance, the junior faced the minimum through the first five innings. He put the exclamation point on the win after he battled out of jams in both the seventh and eighth innings. In both frames, the Tritons put a runner on third with only one out, but Stalvey worked out of it, leaving the runners stranded.
Finishing his season as arguably the hottest pitcher in conference over his last two starts, he has not allowed a run in his last 16 innings dating back to last weekend’s series against Florida Tech when he surrendered pitching duties with a 6-0 lead. In improving to 3-6 he only allowed five runs and two walks while striking out eight Tritons. He managed to pick up the win in 123 pitches.
Led by Dustin Brown’s 2-for-4, three RBI game one, the Lions busted things open in the fifth when the scored five runs to take a 6-0 lead.
Game two saw sophomore Aaron Brandt try to outdo his teammate as he also hurled a complete game to close the season out with the 2-1 win.
With the game on edge throughout, each pitch from Brandt was critical as he had to provide the SLU bats with an opportunity to get the win. For the game he only made one mistake, a sixth inning, first-pitch blast off the bat of Matt Abraham that cleared the left field fence to tie the game at one.
Aside from that pitch, Brandt’s complete game win came behind five hits and four strikeouts. He did not allow a free pass in the game to finish his season 6-3.
The eventual game-winning run came in the bottom of the sixth as Ware Hart reached on a leadoff single up the middle. Ryan Brnovich, attempting to sacrifice Hart over to second, found himself with a base hit after connecting on a gorgeous bunt down the third baseline. With two on and no outs, Jack Daru laid down a two-strike bunt that advanced the runners and then, in a stroke of luck the Lions have looked for all season, a wild pitch that went to the backstop allowed Hart to score to put SLU ahead for good.
In scoring the winning run, Hart finished off a 2-for-3 game and was 4-for-8 for the day.
Before the games, the Lions honored their five departing seniors as Caleb Fuddy, Seth Fowler, Jovanni Fiallo, Eugene Garnett Jr. and J.C. Suarez all played their final games for the Green & Gold on Sunday.
In a repeat of last year’s season finale doubleheader, the Lions sent their loyal fans home happy for the summer with two wins.