FLORENCE, S.C. – Of the 19 hits given up, 11 went for extra-bases. That was all it took for the for the Saint Leo softball team (14-14) to drop a pair of non-conference games at the Francis Marion Invitational, Saturday afternoon from the Freedom Florence Complex. The Lions fell to Queens University (6-13) 6-3 in game one, before being upended by No. 22 Lenoir-Rhyne, 7-3, in game two.
In total, the Lions collected 14 hits, including three from catcher Brittany Yates as she closed the night going 3-for-5 with a double. Amber Martyn also posted a pair of hits, going 2-for-5 with three runs driven in. Tiffinee Harvey scored a team-best two runs, in addition to going 2-for-6 at the plate, while Elysha Agen and Dianne Gonzalez pounded-out two hits apiece. Despite the outcomes, the Ana Castillo checked-off a personal first as she collected her first Saint Leo home run in the game two loss.
In game one, Saint Leo jumped on their opponents scoring one run on three hits in the first inning. Martyn was responsible for the Lions’ run as she singled in Harvey from third base. Queens answered the Lions tally with a run of their own in the top of the second inning, tying the game at 1-1.
Martyn collected her second RBI on the night in the bottom of the third inning as her fielder’s choice plated the Agen from third base. A pesky Queens’ team struck again with a run on three hits in the top of the fourth inning to tie the game at two apiece.
The big blow to the Lions’ efforts came in the top of the fifth when a two-out error led to three Royals’ runs. The 5-2 lead sufficed for the Royals, and despite allowing another RBI to Martyn in the bottom of the fifth inning, Queens kept the Lions’ bats under control for most of the final two frames.
The Royals added one more run to their total in the seventh to solidify the win and push Saint Leo to their third consecutive loss. In defeat, SLU left six runners on base.
Taking the loss was Ashton Whidden, as she dropped to 9-6 on the season despite allowing just two earned runs.
In game two, Kristen Kelly kept the high-powered bats of the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears quiet over the first two innings. Still, it was the Bears who struck first in top of the third inning. Brittany Cherry cranked the first of three long balls on the night over the leftfield fence to make the score 1-0.
The Lions answered the call in the bottom half as Castillo’s groundout knocked in Gonzalez who had led the inning off with a double.
The back-and-forth action continued into the fourth inning when another home run pushed the score to 2-1 in favor of Lenoir-Rhyne. The Lions refused to back down. Sarah Boyd posted a two-out triple and eventually scored on a passed ball to tie the game up once again.
Unfortunately, a three-run fifth inning all but did in the Lions as three doubles and a home run made the score 5-2. Castillo gave the Lions a glimmer of hope in the bottom half of inning, tagging her first Saint Leo home run over the leftfield fence to cut the lead to 5-3.
Two runs by Bears in the top of the sixth sealed the deal, as the Lions seventh inning push fell by the wayside before platting any runs.
Kelly took the loss for the Lions and dropped to 1-5 on the season.
The Lions will finish play at the Francis Marion Invitational on Sunday, March 14 when they take on the Armstrong Atlantic Pirates. First pitch is scheduled for 11:00 a.m.