SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo University softball team (29-23, 8-13 SSC) split a pair of Sunshine State Conference contests with the Eckerd College Tritons, Wednesday evening from University Field. In game one, Tatiana Casis delivered her 15th home run of the 2009 campaign in the third inning as the Lions routed the Tritons 12-0 in five innings. Unfortunately, the Lions were not able to maintain the momentum as they fell behind early in game two and despite a late charge fell 7-6.
Also, four seniors dawned the Lions jersey for the last time at University Field as the program said its goodbyes to Stephanie Discepolo, Ally Maddox, Ashley Urbanik and Casis.
Casis led the charge at the plate though as she went 5-for-6 with four extra-base and seven RBI. Maddox also enjoyed a tremendous night going 3-for-7 while picking up her fourth home run of the season and driving in four runs. Junior Tiffinee Harvey continued her hot hitting as she went 4-for-6 two doubles, a run and five runs scored. Brittany Yates blasted her 13th home run over the fence in game two as she went 2-for-7 with a double and five RBI. Amber Martyn had a solid night for the Lions collecting three base hits. Danielle Moreda and Ali Lamb etched their names into the hit column as they each delivered a single.
Saint Leo came with all cylinders firing in game one, as they struck with a four spot in the first inning. Ager led the inning off with a walk and was quickly moved to second by a single up the middle by Harvey. Casis then delivered the first big blow of the game with a triple to deep right centerfield putting the Lions up 2-0. Three batters later, Maddox sent a line drive up the middle to score Urbanik from third. Moreda followed with an infield single to shortstop scoring Maddox from third base.
After Urbanik shutdown the Tritons in the top of the second, the Lions exploded for five more runs in the bottom of the inning. Casis used a one out double to put two runners in scoring position and Urbanik followed with a walk to load the bases. After Yates reached on a two-run error by the Tritons, Maddox blasted a three-run home run down the leftfield line. The shot is the 18th of her four year career.
Casis struck again in the third inning. With the Lions up 9-0, she blasted the Lions second three-run home run of the ball game down the leftfield line. The shot was the 15th home run of the season for the Lions slugger, breaking the all-time single season home run record of 14 set by Urbanik and Casis back in 2008. The home run is the 29th of her career and stands second in career home runs.
12 runs was well more than enough for Urbanik (18-19), as the Lions’ hurler dominated the circle once again. She went all five innings against the Tritons, scattering three hits, striking out seven and did not allow a base on balls for the second straight time.
Game two did not turn out the way the Lions expected as they quickly found themselves in a five-run deficit after just two innings of play.
Eckerd plated two runs on two hits in the top of the first inning off of Urbanik, who started game the second game for the Lions.
SLU answered back in the bottom of the inning, as Casis sent a line drive over the right field to tie the ballgame at two apiece.
Eckerd continued to chip away at Urbanik and the Lions defense, as they scored five runs in the second inning off of four hits and two Lions’ miscues.
With the Tritons holding a 7-2 lead, Harvey used one swing of the bat to pull Saint Leo back within four, sending a solo shot over the left centerfield fence.
Kristen Kelly came in for relief of Urbanik in the middle of the second and shut the Tritons down over the next five innings of work as she did not allow a single hit.
The teams matched zeros during the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, but Saint Leo tried to produce one last comeback.
Harvey led off the final inning of play with a double which was followed by a Casis walk. Yates then stepped to the plate with one out and crushed a three run home run against the foul pole down the leftfield line to pull the Lions within one, 7-6.
The Lions couldn’t produce anymore though, as Eckerd recovered to get the final two batters and the win.
Despite the loss, the Lions secured the conference series win with a victory in the first game, their second SSC series win of the season.
In the split with the Tritons, the squad hit five home runs as they surpassed the team home run record of 51 set in 2008 with 55 in 2009 with three games remaining.
The Lions hit the field one more time this 2009 season when they travel to Melbourne, Fla. to take the Panthers of Florida Tech. SLU will play two on Saturday with the first pitch coming 1:00 pm. The game will be broadcast live on the Saint Leo Lions AudioCast Network.