Tampa, Fla. (April 11, 2008) – The No. 16 Saint Leo softball team (27-11, 8-5 SSC) dropped  its Sunshine State Conference series opener to the University of Tampa (27-7, 10-3 SSC) by a score of 2-1 Friday night at the UT Softball Complex.

The Lions struggled at the plate against Tampa ace Deanna Henriott, as she set a Spartan single-game strikeout record against the with 16 K's on the evening.

The Lions picked up hits from Shelley Bartlett (Sr., Sarasota, Fla.) who went 1-for-3 with a home run and an RBI. Elysha Agen (Fr., Palm Harbor, Fla.) went 1-for-4 with a single while Ally Maddox (Jr., Brandon, Fla.) and April Slate (Sr., Land O’Lakes, Fla.) each went 1-for-3, picking up singles.

After a scoreless first between the SSC rivals, Tampa jumped out to an early 2-0 lead. Tampa scored its runs in the second inning, as the lead-off batter reached on an infield single, which was followed by a fielder’s choice. After a sacrifice moved the runners to second and third, one run scored on a passed ball. The next run scored as a result of an RBI ground out.

The Lions finally jumped on the board in the sixth inning when Bartlett crushed a ball deep over the centerfielder's head allowing her to race home for an inside-the-park home run. The home run was Bartlett’s fourth on the season. The 2-1 deficit was a close as the Lions got, as they were set down in order to close out the game.

The Lions had plenty of chances though, as they stranded a total of eight runners and left the bases loaded in the fourth inning.

Ashley Urbanik (Sr., Riverview, Fla.) went through a complete game for the Lions allowing only five hits, two runs (one earned), walking three while striking out seven. Urbanik (19-7) has lost three consecutive decisions.

The Lions will continue their SSC series with the Spartans on Saturday, April 12 in a doubleheader starting at 1:00 p.m. at the University of Tampa Softball Complex.