SAINT LEO, Fla. – Late heroics from the Southeastern University offense stunned the Saint Leo baseball team, Wednesday night at Thomas B. Southard Stadium. After a four-hour campaign and seven runs in the top of the ninth inning, the Lions' squad (7-3) fell to the visiting Southeastern Fire (9-6) by a 12-10 score.
Junior RHP Tyrone Miller took the mound for the beginning of the contest, tossing just one inning and allowing no runs on one hit. By design, the Lions' would pitch a different pitcher in nearly every inning of the matchup. At the end of the day, the Saint Leo pitching staff allowed 12 runs on 11 hits and 10 walks. Junior Liam O'Sullivan picked up the loss.
The Fire took the lead early in the game, picking up a run in the top of the second after Southeastern batters earned three walks with two outs to load the bases. A Saint Leo passed ball gave them the opportunity to score.
Southeastern tacked on another run in the top of the 3rd but Saint Leo would take the 3-2 lead in the bottom of the inning thanks to a 2 RBI double from junior Bobby Twitty.
After a balk in the bottom of the fourth gave the Lions a 4-2 lead, a two-run homerun by Southeastern's Carlos Guzman made it a tie ballgame in the top of the fifth.
Despite an RBI single from the Fire in the top of the sixth to take the lead, a clutch 2 RBI single from the Lions' Zach Daley gave Saint Leo the momentum needed to go ahead. Another RBI single in the bottom of the seventh from freshman Alex Mata allowed for a two-run lead in favor of the Lions.
After holding the Fire scoreless in the eighth, the Lions returned for the bottom of the inning ready to score some more. After Nick Perez singled and stole two consecutive bases, an RBI single from Taylor Perez plated Nick Perez to put Saint Leo up by three. The next batter, senior Fran Whitten, then launched a two-run homerun well over the right-centerfield fence for a five-run lead.
In an unexpected turn of events, Southeastern put their bats together and combined for seven runs in the top of the ninth inning to take a 12-10 lead, and eventually, the win. A sacrifice fly, two singles, a triple, a homerun, and two free bases gave the Fire all the runs they would need, as the Lions went three up, three down in the bottom of the ninth.
As a team, the Lions earned 14 hits in the contest, recording eight earned runs and three walks.
The Saint Leo baseball team will return to action on Friday, February 28 when they host the visiting Palm Beach Atlantic Sailfish on Academic Appreciation Night. First pitch is set to be thrown out at 6:00 p.m.
For more on the Lions' baseball team, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also, be sure to 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and Follow Saint Leo Athletics on Twitter and Instagram.