Lions win eleven straight and break school record for most consecutive SSC victories
SAINT LEO, Fla. – After defeating the visiting Rollins College Tars in a 15-inning affair Friday night, the Saint Leo baseball team took both games of a Saturday afternoon doubleheader to complete the three-game sweep. Junior Liam O'Sullivan and senior Brent Krauss both threw complete games Saturday, as the Lions broke a school record for nine-straight Sunshine State Conference victories. In addition, the triumph marked the Lions' eleventh-straight victory.
Junior Liam Sullivan took the mound for the Lions in the first game of the day, tossing a nine-inning complete game and earning the victory. The complete-game effort marked his second-consecutive and his third this season. The righty allowed just seven hits and walked none, striking out seven in his nine innings of work.
The visiting Tars took the scoreboard first, picking up two quick runs in the top of the first inning after a leadoff triple and an RBI single allowed the Tars' leadoff hitter to score. After a Saint Leo error, Rollins plated another run, forcing a 2-0 lead.
Saint Leo responded quickly, rallying for four runs in the bottom half of the first. Senior Chris Newcomb led off the inning with a free pass to first base on a hit by pitch. After taking second on a wild pitch, an RBI double from Taylor Perez allowed Newcomb to score. Two outs, two walks, and a hit-by-pitch later, it was junior Nick Perez who singled up the middle and cleared the bases, thanks to the help of a Rollins error.
The Lions added two more runs to the board in the bottom of the second inning, when a two-run blast off the bat of senior Fran Whitten propelled Saint Leo to a 6-2 lead. In the bottom of the third, the squad tacked on another run when junior Bobby Twitty reached on a fielder's choice that scored sophomore Cole Stancil.
After scoreless fourth and fifth outings, Saint Leo came out in the bottom of the sixth inning to pick up three more runs. The inning began when Dale Irving took first after getting hit by a pitch, and quickly advanced to second base on a single from Chris Newcomb. After a Taylor Perez single loaded the bases, senior Fran Whitten reached on a field error that allowed Newcomb and Irving. After a pitching change, a Saint Leo groundout pushed T. Perez across the plate, giving the Lions a 10-2 lead.
The Tars scored one run in the top of the seventh off an RBI single from freshman Philip Burkett, but it was not enough, as Saint Leo finished the game with a 10-3 victory in game one.
The second game of the afternoon featured a similar pitching performance, as senior Brent Krauss tossed a seven-inning complete game. He allowed nine hits in his appearance, walking just two and striking out two. The complete game marks his second-consecutive, as well as his second this season.
Unlike game one, the Lions jumped on the scoreboard first in game two, scoring three quick runs. Newcomb led off the bottom of the first inning with a single up the middle, taking second on a wild pitch and advancing to third on a fly out. The senior was able to score on the next play, a groundout. With two outs on the board, N. Perez walked and a single from Dylan Harris moved him over to third. The following RBI single from Cole Stancil scored both of the Lions' runners, pushing Saint Leo to an early 3-0 lead.
Though Rollins recorded their first run of the game in the top of the fourth with an RBI single, the Lions responded in the bottom of the inning with three unearned runs to force a 6-1 lead in their favor.
A Tars hit in the top of the sixth coupled by a Saint Leo error gave Rollins another run, but again the Lions responded in their at-bat, registering three of their own. It was junior Bobby Twitty who picked up a one-out single to jumpstart the effort, and the following single from Dale Irving gave the Lions two base runners. One out later, RBI base hits from T. Perez and Whitten pushed two more Saint Leo runs across the plate.
Holding Rollins scoreless in the top of the seventh, the Lions took home the third game of the SSC series as well as the three-game sweep.
On the day, Saint Leo registered 18 hits and eight walks, tallying four extra-base hits and picking up three stolen bases.
The Lions will return to play on Thursday, April 17 when they take on the top-ranked Lynn Fighting Knights in a Thursday/Friday Sunshine State Conference series. First pitch for the single game on Thursday is set for 6:00 p.m.
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