Baseball completes Eckerd series with doubleheader split

Baseball completes Eckerd series with doubleheader split

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – For the second night in a row, Saint Leo baseball got some timely home runs that helped lift the Lions to a 12-8 victory over host Eckerd College in the opening game of the teams' Sunshine State Conference doubleheader at the Turley Athletic Complex.

Saint Leo (21-23, 6-15 SSC) was unable to complete the series sweep over the Tritons, dropping a 16-6 decision to Eckerd in the nightcap.

GAME 1

Saint Leo got back-to-back home runs from Dylan Harris and Alex Mata in the top of the 10th inning, lifting the Lions to the extra-inning victory.

Harris smacked a three-run round-tripper to left field, scoring Zach Scott and Lane Stancil. Mata stepped up and belted a solo shot to left field on the ensuing at bat, giving Saint Leo the 12-8 lead.

The Lions plated two runs in the eighth on Lane Stancil's two-run triple to right field, and scored an additional run in the ninth to tie the game on Shane Williams' sacrifice fly to right.

Eckerd led the game by as much as 7-3 after six innings, after a four-run fourth inning on consecutive home runs by the Tritons' Mitch Calandra, Garrett Hiott, and Justin Glover.

Saint Leo finished with 12 hits, with Harris pacing the Lions with four hits, including a home run and a double, and five runs batted in. Stancil charted three hits, including a double and a triple, to go with three runs, and two RBI.

Reliever Zach Whitaker picked up his third win of the season, after pitching 2 2/3 innings with no runs and no hits while fanning three Triton batters.

Nick Conti and Jake Romine each had three hits to pace the Tritons at the plate.

GAME 2         

Eckerd recorded five runs in the fifth inning and four runs in both the sixth and the seventh, and held a double-digit lead from the seventh inning on to salvage a split out of the Friday twinbill.

Saint Leo kept pace with Eckerd through the early innings, and took a 3-2 lead over the Tritons in the top of the fifth when Mata's one-out sacrifice fly to right field scored Stancil.

The Lions tacked on three runs in the top of the ninth on a Zack Sabo walk, followed by singles from Chad Miller, Derek Gibree, and Stancil. A wild pitch and a Harris sac fly to right plated two of the Saint Leo runs in the frame.

Saint Leo finished with 12 hits, led by Zach Scott's 3-for-4 effort at the plate with two RBI. Stancil and Gibree each had a pair of singles.

Game one winner Whitaker got the start in game two, and held Eckerd to three hits over 3 1/3 innings of work. Blake Bodin came on in relief in the fourth inning, and allowed five runs, four earned, on three hits in 1 1/3 innings and was charged with the loss.

Seven of Eckerd's 14 hits were for extra bases, including home runs by Jamaal Chaney and Nick Conti. Conti also had a double and finished the game with six RBI for the Tritons.

Saint Leo returns home for the final five games of the 2017 regular season, starting with a two-game non-conference series against Flagler College starting Friday, May 5, at 6:00 p.m.

For more on the Saint Leo baseball program, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also, be sure to 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' Saint Leo Athletics on Twitter and Instagram.