SAINT LEO, Fla. – With a successful 2014 season in the books and summer in full swing, 12 Saint Leo University baseball players have chosen to compete in various collegiate baseball leagues across the country before returning to compete for the Green and Gold in the fall of 2014.
The majority of the Lions competing in summer leagues have travelled north to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions, while others are playing locally.
After a strong first season with the Lions, right-handed pitcher and senior-to-be Liam O'Sullivan is currently playing summer ball in the Cape Cod League for the Wareham Gateman. So far this season, O'Sullivan has come out of the bullpen in seven games, pitching 19.0 innings and collecting 14 strike outs.
Standouts Nick Perez and Alex Mata have moved from teammates to opponents in the Valley League playing for the Front Royal Cardinals and Winchester Royals, respectively. Perez has played in 18 games from his outfield position. During this time, the upperclassman has collected nine hits in 46 at bats, scoring seven runs, notching two RBI, and stealing four bases. As a member of the Winchester Royals, sophomore-to-be Alex Mata has hit his stride this summer, playing 24 games at third base. The infielder leads his team in at bats with 97 and currently maintains a .320 average at the plate for third on the team. Mata's plate presence has also produced two home runs, 12 RBI, and 14 runs scored.
Following strong sophomore seasons, Taylor Perez and Michael Dunnigan have continued to show promise as teammates for Keene Swamp Bats in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. Over the duration of the 19 games, Perez has been a solid middle infielder for the Swamp Bats, posting a .235 batting average with 16 hits in 68 at bats. In addition, Perez has scored eight runs, driven in one RBI and continues to be strong defensively, earning a .916 fielding percentage. From the mound, Dunnigan has seen success with the Swamp Bats as well, earning a 2-1 record in three starts. In his six total appearances, Dunnigan has accumulated a 3.92 ERA in 18.1 innings pitched, with an impressive 11 strikeouts and no walks.
After red-shirting last year for the Lions, Dylan Collett returns to the diamond for the Petersburg Generals of the Coastal Plains League. The lefty pitcher continues to return to form, starting in 6 of his 9 appearances and totaling 31.1 innings pitched thus far. He is among the team leaders in strikeouts with 26 this summer.
Two main contributors from the Lions' roster have teamed up for the Worcester Bravehearts to compete in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League of New England. After ending his junior campaign with a perfect 5-0 record, right-handed pitcher Tyrone Miller has seen action in 8 games this summer for the Bravehearts, though mainly in relief. He has collected one save and 21 strikeouts in 15.2 innings of work. Fresh off an SSC Freshman of the Year honor and other multiple awards, teammate Dylan Harris continues to stay hot, hitting for a .295 average which ranks third on the team. The rookie has also scored 23 runs and hit two home runs, totaling 18 RBI.
The Lions have two more players playing in the All-American Collegiate Baseball League, which competes in North Carolina. After red-shirting during his true freshman season, Chad Miller has played a total of 12 games at the shortstop position for the Caldwell Warriors, averaging .323 at the plate with ten hits and six RBI. A regular contributor for the Lions late last season, junior-to-be Zach Daley currently plays for the Morgantown Militia, where he has played in 13 games this summer, collecting five hits and two RBI.
The final pair of Saint Leo players to travel north are sophomores-to-be Daniel Twitty and Josh Mollett, pitchers who have both taken their talents to the New York Collegiate Baseball League. Twitty plays for the Niagara Power, the same team his older brother and Lions teammate Bobby Twitty has played with in the past. In 16 games out of the bullpen so far, the lefty pitcher has tallied 20 strikeouts. Righty pitcher Mollett plays for the rival Cortland Crush, and has appeared in seven games with two starts. Mollett currently has one win on the season in 13.1 innings pitched, striking out six and recording a 5.40 ERA.
Two Saint Leo ballplayers are playing locally this summer, as pitcher/ultility Jordan Taylor competes with the Sanford River Rats and lefty pitcher Brett Nizamoff plays for the Winter Park Diamond Dawgs. Both teams compete in the Florida Collegiate Summer League, which operates out of the Central Florida area. Taylor has continued his dual role as pitcher and fielder for the River Rats, tallying 21 at bats with five hits in 7 games while playing in the field. In addition, he's blasted one homerun and picked up three RBI. In three pitching appearances, the lefty senior-to-be has tallied both a start and a save , striking out ten in seven innings of work. Also a lefty pitcher and upcoming senior, Nizamoff has come out of the bullpen for the Diamond Dawgs in seven games so far this summer, collecting nine strikeouts in 10.2 innings on the young season.
For more updates on the Saint Leo baseball team this summer, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also, be sure to 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' Saint Leo Athletics on Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.