Mata knots doubles record in baseball twinbill versus Sharks

Mata knots doubles record in baseball twinbill versus Sharks

SAINT LEO, Fla. – Saint Leo baseball came into Saturday's doubleheader with No. 18 Nova Southeastern looking to steal a win or two off the Sharks, but the Lions fell in both ends of the Sunshine State Conference twinbill at Thomas B. Southard Stadium.

Nova Southeastern posted a 5-2 win over Saint Leo in game one of the doubleheader, before completing the sweep with a 16-5 victory in game two.

Senior Alex Mata tied the Saint Leo career doubles record in the third inning of game two with his 13th double of the season and the 61st of his career. He is tied with Trevor Hall (1999-2002) atop the career doubles leaderboard.

Senior Zack Sabo belted his third home run of the season – a solo shot to right field - in the fourth inning of game two.

GAME 1

Nova Southeastern put up three runs in the top of the first inning, which proved to be all the offense it would need for the win. After singles by Jancarlos Cintron and Dylan Woods, Brandon Gomez hit a three-run home run to straightaway center field, giving the Sharks an early 3-0 lead.

Saint Leo got one run back in the bottom of the first. Dylan Harris got aboard with a one-out single, advanced to second on a single by Mata, and scored on Shane Williams' fielder's choice come-back chopper to the pitcher. NSU pitcher Devin Meyer's throw to second to get Mata sailed over second base, allowing Harris to score.

Nova Southeastern added insurance runs in the fourth and eighth innings, with Saint Leo cutting the margin to three with a run in the bottom of the eighth.

Redshirt freshman starter Ryan Nolan went six complete innings and scattered six hits with two strikeouts in the loss. Saint Leo finished with eight hits, including two each by Harris and Mata.

GAME 2

Nova Southeastern again jumped out to an early lead thanks to a three-run home run in the first inning, this time off the bat of Jake Anchia. The Sharks tacked on three more in the second to grab a 6-0 lead, before the Lions responded with two runs in the third on Mata's two-run, record-tying double down the left field line.

The teams traded runs in the fourth inning, including Sabo's rocket shot home run to right field, leaving Saint Leo trailing 7-3, but still within striking distance of the Sharks.

Brandon Gomez's three-run home run for the Sharks in the sixth and four more Nova Southeastern runs in the seventh extended NSU's lead to 14-3. Saint Leo took advantage of leadoff singles in the seventh and eighth innings to post one run in each frame, but NSU added single runs of its own in the eighth and ninth.

Harris and Derek Gibree each had two hits in game two, as the Lions tallied 12 hits off Nova Southeastern pitchers. Eoin McAvinchey got the start for Saint Leo and lasted 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits. Five Lion pitchers in the game combined to record 10 strikeouts on Shark batters.

Saint Leo returns to action on Friday, March 31, when it travels to Daytona Beach, Fla., to face Embry-Riddle in the start of a three-game non-conference series.

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 FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube.