SAINT LEO, Fla. – In a Friday night contest against the number four team in the Sunshine State Conference, the Saint Leo baseball team defeated the visiting Eckerd College Tritons by a 7-4 score. The complete-game effort from Saint Leo starter Michael Dunnigan earned the sophomore his second career complete-game victory, while also improving the Lions' record to 21-12 on the season.
The Tritons struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning when a Saint Leo fielding error prolonged the inning and allowed an unearned run.
After two scoreless at-bats, the Lions retaliated in the bottom of the third inning to score one of their own. It was sophomore Cole Stancil who led off the inning with a triple to the right-centerfield wall. A groundout on the next play scored Stancil easily, tying the game at 1-1.
Both squads tacked on a run in the fourth inning, as Eckerd picked up one on an RBI single from Lucas Luopa, and the Lions' Fran Whitten blasted a homerun over the right-field fence.
A two-run homerun for the Tritons in the top of the fifth gave Eckerd back a 4-2 lead, but again the Lions responded in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. After two back-to-back singles from Stancil and fellow outfielder Bobby Twitty, a single from Dale Irving and an error from the Eckerd shortstop allowed two Saint Leo runs.
With the score tied at 4-all, the Lions took the lead in the bottom of the sixth when RBI singles from Stancil and Irving earned the Lions two more runs, giving them a 6-4 lead.
Chris Newcomb tacked on another run in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI single, and after holding Eckerd scoreless in the eighth and ninth, the Lions walked away with a pivotal 7-4 Sunshine State Conference victory.
As a team, the Lions earned 10 hits in the win, along with three walks and a stolen base. The squad forced two Eckerd errors in the contest.
Sophomore starter Michael Dunnigan improved to 6-2 on the year with the complete-game win, tossing nine full innings and allowing 10 hits, no walks, and just three earned runs. He struck out three.
The Lions and Tritons will return to action on Saturday, April 5 when they wrap up the Sunshine State Conference series with a late afternoon doubleheader. First pitch is set for 3:00 p.m. from Thomas B. Southard Stadium.
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