SAINT LEO, Fla. – Just when it appeared the Saint Leo softball team (8-9, 1-2) was going to start off the season 0-3 in the Sunshine State Conference, Lions’ catcher Brittany Yates launched two-out, three-run home run over the left-field fence to mark a 3-1 comeback victory over the Tars in game two. Unfortunately, the Lions came up just a bit short dropping a 3-2 decision in the opening game of the twin bill from University Field.
After a scoreless first inning by both teams in game one, the Tars Jamie Rausch connected on a one out, solo home run off Lions’ ace Ashley Urbanik to give them a 1-0 advantage.
The two team traded zeroes until the fifth inning when Rollins added to their lead as Monica Meadows dropped a two-run home run over the right centerfield fence, extending the Tar lead to 3-1.
But the Lions’ bats didn’t remain silent for long as Elysha Agen and Tiffinee Harvey connected on back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the sixth to cut into the lead, 3-1. The hits forced Tars starter Rachel Foster from game for Nichole Anderson. The pitching change didn’t help immediately for Rollins as Harvey soon crossed the plate with the Lions second run, as Ally Maddox reached on a one out fielding error by the third baseman. The Lions couldn’t take advantage of the other runners on base, as the teams entered the final inning.
After the Tars were put down in top half of the seventh, the Lions had a chance to tie the game. Agen connected on a two-out single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. A passed ball soon saw the tying run 60 feet away but a sharply hit ball by Harvey was snagged out of the air by the Tars’ shortstop preserving the win for Rollins.
Urbanik (4-8) was the tough-luck loser on the night, throwing seven complete innings while tying for a season-high in strikeouts with nine.
Game two had an eerily familiar beginning, as Rollins scored their first run of the ball game in the top of the first without connecting on a single base hit.
Zeroes held across the board for the rest of the game, with neither team threatening until the fifth. In the inning, Rollins loaded the bases on three singles but strong SLU defense kept the Lions in the game as a double play ended the chanced for Rollins.
Rollins tried to intimidate Lions’ starter Kristen Kelly again in the seventh inning of a one-run ball game. But after two consecutive hits put runners in scoring position, Kelly (3-1) settled down and struck out the next three batters.
Kelly’s effort in the circle in the top half of the inning seemed to translate to success in the bottom part. Casis singled sharply down the right field line and two batters later Maddox laced a single through the left side. That set the stage for one of the biggest hits on the year so far. Brittany Yates, who had struggled against Anderson in each at bat in the series, took a two-out pitch over the left centerfield wall to give the Lions the dramatic, walk-off victory.
The win snaps a Lions three game losing streak and gives the Lions their first SSC victory of 2009.
Casis and Agen combined to go 5-for-13 on the day, including one double by Agen. Five other Lions had one hit on the game, while Yates led all players with three RBI.
Lions’ starters combined to give up only one earned run the entire weekend while striking out 15 Tars.
The next time SLU will take to the field will be Wednesday, March 4 as they take on Salem International in non-conference action. First pitch for the doubleheader is scheduled for 5:00 pm.