Saint Leo pitchers mow down Panthers, but Lions fall 7-4

Saint Leo pitchers mow down Panthers, but Lions fall 7-4

SAINT LEO, Fla. – Five Saint Leo pitchers combined for 14 strikeouts on Florida Tech batters, however the Lions were unable to generate enough runs to overtake the visiting Panthers in a 7-4 loss on Friday night at Thomas B. Southard Stadium.

The 14 Ks by the Lions were the most in a single game since March 7, 2015, when Saint Leo fanned 14 Nova Southeastern batters in a 4-2 loss to the Sharks.

Saint Leo starter Tyler Bauman paced the pitching staff with nine strikeouts over his 5 2/3 innings of work, while scattering five hits and allowing four runs, three of which were earned. Relievers Dan Twitty (one), Francis Ortiz (three), and Robbie Cook (one) accounted for the remaining strikeouts.

The Lions closed a deficit that reached 4-0 midway through the third inning with three runs in the bottom of that frame on a Florida Tech error, a walk, a wild pitch, and two RBI grounders by Alex Mata and Shane Williams. Chase Turner provided a punctuation mark to the inning with a solo shot to left field, his second home run of the season, to close the gap to 4-3.

Saint Leo knotted the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the sixth when Turner reached on a leadoff single, advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt, and scored on a Derek Gibree bunt single to first base that left the Panther defense scrambling.

Florida Tech took the lead for good on Reid Neal's two-run home run to right field in the seventh, giving the Panthers a 6-4 lead. FIT manufactured another run in the ninth to extend its lead to 7-4.

The Lions had runners in scoring position in the sixth and eighth innings in an effort to chase down the Panthers, but were unable to push across the game-tying runs.

Turner and Gibree led Saint Leo with two hits apiece, with Gibree recording his fifth double of the season. The Lions finished the night with nine hits, and stranded eight base runners.

Grant McKown, Dan Szpik, David Wilson, and Trent Masih each had two hits to aid the Florida Tech cause. Reliever Brett Porter picked up the win in his 1 2/3 innings relief stint.

Saint Leo and Florida Tech complete their three-game Sunshine State Conference series with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 22, at 1:00 p.m. at Southard Stadium.

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