SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo baseball team found that a nine-run offensive showing would not be enough as the visiting Valdosta State University Blazers rallied in the late innings to claim an 11-9 win on Monday night from Thomas B. Southard Stadium.
Playing the rescheduled game from the beginning of the season, the Blazers jumped out with a three-spot off of Saint Leo starter Rick Teasley in the second inning. Responding in impressive fashion, the Lions answered with two runs in each of the next two at-bats, and scored single runs in the following three innings to take a 7-4 lead into the seventh.
Valdosta State (18-20) cut into the lead in the seventh after scoring two runs as the first three batters reached base.
The big inning for the visitors from Valdosta, Ga. came in the eighth when they smacked out six hits and scored five runs, stealing control, and a win from Saint Leo (13-26). During that two innings span, the Blazers combined for seven runs on nine hits and saw three different Saint Leo pitchers head to the mound.
A two-out, two-run rally in the ninth inning gave Green & Gold fans hope, but a fly ball from the bat of Frank Rawdow hung in the air just long enough for the VSU centerfield to make the catch, stranding the tying run on second base.
Matt Hewitt (2-2) was handed the loss for the Lions while Steven Groves (3-1) found himself as the pitcher of record for the Blazers during the five-run eighth inning.
Daniel Torres went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored as he was one of three Lions with multiple hits, adding to the 13-hit evening for the team. Ryan Brnovich and Anthony Santa each went 3-for-5 on the night.
The Lions will return to Sunshine State Conference play this weekend when they welcome Florida Tech into Southard Stadium for a three-game, Easter weekend series beginning on Friday night. First pitch for game one of the series is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.