SAINT LEO, Fla. – Saint Leo baseball dropped both ends of a non-conference South Region doubleheader to Palm Beach Atlantic University, 14-7 and 14-5, Saturday at Thomas B. Southard Stadium.
In the first game of the twinbill, Saint Leo built a 7-2 lead by the end of the fifth inning, with most the Lions' offense coming off the long ball.
Saint Leo manufactured two runs in the first inning on four hits, a PBA error, a walk and a double steal. Brett Coffel and Shane Williams belted solo home runs in the third inning to extend the Lions' lead to 4-0, and Zach Scott swatted a solo shot in the fourth.
After Dylan Harris got aboard with a leadoff single to start the fifth, Coffel smashed a two-run homer to left field and Saint Leo still led Palm Beach Atlantic, 7-2. However the Sailfish chipped away with two runs each in the sixth and seventh innings, cutting the Lions' lead to 7-6 heading into the top of the ninth.
PBA plated eight runs in the ninth off six hits and one error, retired Saint Leo in order in the ninth to steal the win.
Williams finished game one 3-for-3 at the plate with two RBI, while Harris and Coffel each had a pair of hits. Coffel finished the night with three RBI.
Sean Horner got credit for the win for Palm Beach Atlantic, after allowing one hit and striking out four over 4 2/3 innings of relief work. Noah Johnson and Jake Summey each had three hits to aid the Sailfish offensively.
In game two, Palm Beach Atlantic struck first with two runs in the top of the first inning, but Saint Leo responded with three runs in the bottom half of the frame. Coffel singled home Harris for one out for the first Lion run, and Alex Mata smashed a two-run shot to left field to give the Lions a 3-2 lead.
Palm Beach Atlantic regained the upper hand with a two-run third inning on RBI singles by Ryan Johnson and Robert Campo. The Sailfish went on to add four runs in the fourth inning – three of those off a home run by Peter Rivera – and four more in the sixth to extend their lead to 12-3.
After two more PBA runs in the top of the eighth, Saint Leo plated two runs in the bottom of the frame on a towering Mata double to left-center that was just shy of a home run.
Harris and Mata each had two hits in game two, while Mata logged four RBI. Mata's five RBI over the weekend gives him 150 for his career, making him just the fourth player in program history to reach that milestone. Starter Eoin McAvinchey lasted 3 1/3 innings in the start and was charged with the loss.
Saint Leo's next scheduled game is Monday, March 6, against Northwood University at 4:00 p.m. at Southard Stadium. The three-game series at Benedict College scheduled for Friday, March 3, and Saturday, March 4, has been cancelled; please check the schedule for additional games to be scheduled to replace the Benedict College contests.
For more information on the Saint Leo baseball program, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Lions news by following Saint Leo Athletics on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.