SAINT LEO, Fla. – Senior Nick Boland's pinch hit single in the fifth inning plated what proved to be Saint Leo's game-winning run as the Lions defeated visiting Northwood University, 8-6, on Monday evening at Thomas B. Southard Stadium.
The win improved Saint Leo's record to 8-6 overall to start a tough week on the Lions' schedule. Saint Leo travels to Winter Haven, Fla., on Tuesday to face Minnesota State, ranked No. 12 in the D2BaseballNews.com national poll, following by a home game against No. 24 Catawba College on Wednesday.
The Lions will open Sunshine State Conference play on Friday night with a three-game series against No. 3 University of Tampa.
Trailing 6-5 heading into the Saint Leo half of the fifth inning, the Lions plated two runs to take the lead over Northwood (8-4). Brett Coffel got aboard on a fielder's choice grounder to short, advanced to third on an Alex Mata single to right, and scored on Shane Williams' ground out to short. Boland, pinch hitting for freshman Matt McGee, sliced a single into center field, scoring Mata.
Zach Scott scored an insurance run for the Lions in the sixth, after reaching on a leadoff walk. He went to second on an errant pickoff throw by Northwood reliever Matt Stojkov, advanced to third on Lane Stancil's grounder to second, and scored on Dylan Harris's RBI single through the left side.
The run-scoring base hit by Harris was part of the senior infielder's 5-for-5 night at the plate, with two doubles and three singles, along with two RBI and a run scored.
Saint Leo put up a pair of runs in the first inning on four hits, with Northwood matching in the top of the second on a solo home run by Ryan McClelland and an RBI single by Brooks Ullery. The Lions broke the deadlock with a three-run bottom of the second on RBI singles by Harris and Coffel, with a sac fly to center that scored leadoff hitter Tate Sweatt.
The Timberwolves put up a single run on the third, and took the lead with a three-run uprising in the fourth including a two-run inside-the-park home run by Kyle Ziegler.
Mata, Williams, and Gibree each finished with two hits for the Lions. Blake Bodin picked up the win after going 3 2/3 innings in relief of starter Mike Mann; Bodin scattered three hits and fanned three Timberwolf batters in the victory. Senior Zach Whitaker earned the save for his two innings of work in relief of Bodin, striking out four Northwood batters and allowing two hits.
For Northwood, starter Logan Meadors was tagged with the loss for his 4 1/3 innings on the mound. He surrendered seven runs, six earned, on 12 hits with only one strikeout.
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