LAKE WALES, Fla. – The Saint Leo baseball team missed a number of opportunities on the bases and struggled in the field as the Lions dropped a 6-3 decision to NAIA Warner University in the middle of the state on Tuesday afternoon.
The Lions left 15 runners on base, including three innings where Saint Leo (9-13) left the bases loaded, each time with the go-ahead run on the basepaths. The best chance to rally came in the final inning when SLU loaded the bases for the third time, this time with just one out, but could not manage the clutch hit to bring the runs home. With the game on the line, Warner (17-9-1) made a pitching change that forced Saint Leo into a strikeout and fly out to end the game.
It turned out to be a game of missed opportunities in many ways as the Lions’ fielders committed four errors leading to four unearned runs. Three of the four miscues continued innings that developed into run-scoring frames for the hosts, including two innings that allowed multiple runs to cross the plate.
It was also a game that featured a rotating bullpen door with a combined nine pitchers toeing the rubber in the nine innings of action. SLU pitching surrendered a season-high 14 hits while Lion batters managed eight hits against Royal pitching.
At the plate, Dustin Brown went 3-for-4 with the team’s only RBI of the day and Ryan Brnovich went 2-for-5 in the leadoff spot for the Lions.
Henry Johnson (1-1) started his second game of the season and tossed a pre-planned three innings of action, giving up three runs (one earned) on six hits.
Shaun Starnes went 4-for-4 with three RBI and two runs scored in leading Warner to the victory.
Saint Leo will head back into Sunshine State Conference play this weekend when they return to Thomas B. Southard Stadium and host Florida Southern College in a three-game series. The Lions and Moccasins get game one underway on Friday night at 6:00 p.m.