SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo softball team (12-10, 4-2 SSC), behind the efforts of some late-inning heroics, swept the conference doubleheader from the Lynn University Fighting Knights (15-8, 1-2 SSC) by the scores of 2-0 and 4-3, Saturday evening from University Field.
In the sweep, the Lions collected 11 combined hits, including seven extra-base hits, as Saint Leo posted its ninth win in 11 tries. Led by Dianne Gonzalez’s 2-for-4 effort, four players picked up two hits. Gonzalez smacked a pair of doubles and was responsible for driving in the game-winner in game two. Sarah Boyd connected on her second home run of the season, as she went 2-for-5 on the night with three RBI. Elysha Agen added a triple and her first home run of the season, while Amber Martyn went 2-for-6 with a run scored.
Pitching was the name of the game in the first of two at University Field. The beginning of the contest, however, painted a different picture as the Agen blasted the first pitch she saw out of the park for a leadoff home run.
One run was all that Jaime Walker needed on this day, as she was spectacular from beginning to end. She put the side down in order on four different occasions and scattered a season-low four hits over seven shutout innings.
The Fighting Knights best chance to score came in the top of the sixth when a two-out single looked as though it was going to score the tying run. Fortunately for the Lions brass, the ball was hit to the strong armed Martyn who fired a rocket home to Yates to tag the runner out by a step.
Lions’ Base runner Tiffinee Harvey took advantage of a one-out Lynn error in the bottom of the inning to score the squads second and final run, securing the game one victory.
In total, Walker struck out three hitters and allowed on two base-on-balls, securing the first shutout of her Saint Leo career. The Surrey, British Columbia native improved to 3-2 on the season.
Game two presented a different challenge for the Green & Gold, as they had to play catch-up for the first few innings.
Lynn used an infield single by Brittany Gross and a Kathleen Smith RBI single to post their first run of the day and grab a first inning, 1-0 lead. The Fighting Knights expanded their lead to 2-0 when Jordan Angel used another infield hit to drive in Lynn’s second tally.
All of that changed in the bottom of the fourth, however. Harvey led the inning off with a double and one batter later stood at third base thanks to a Martyn line drive single. Boyd then stepped to the plate, and with one swing of the bat turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead, blasting a three-run shot over the leftfield fence.
Still, the blast only momentarily changed momentum as Lynn used a pair of hits in the top of the fifth to tie the game at three apiece. The Lions were not swayed though and after going down in order in the sixth, SLU made one final charge standup in the final frame.
In the seventh, the Lions quickly drew two outs. Danielle Moreda continued the inning though, with a double to leftfield. Gonzalez then used her final at-bat of the day to provide some late heroics. With Moreda still at second, the Riverview, Fla. native sent a shot to the leftfield fence allowing Moreda to round third and slide in with the game-winning run.
It is the second game-winner by Gonzalez in the last four days. In the circle, Ashton Whidden pitched a solid seven innings of work allowing just eight hits and two earned runs over 7.0 innings. The win pushed Whidden to 8-4 on the campaign.
Saint Leo will return to the field on Tuesday, March 9 for a pair of non-conference games against No. 22 Wayne State (Neb.) and No. 16 Bloomsburg. First pitch is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. in Clermont, Fla. Both games will be broadcast live on the SaintLeoLions Audiocast Network.