SAINT LEO, Fla. – Despite collecting eight hits and forcing the contest into extra-innings with a late comeback, the Saint Leo softball team (18-24, 5-8 SSC) dropped the opening game of their three-game series with the Florida Southern College Moccasins (22-19, 8-11 SSC) 5-2, Tuesday evening from University Field.
The conference, extra-innings affair saw the Lions battle back from a 2-0 deficit, scoring a pair of runs to force extra-innings. However a three-run ninth proved to be too much for the Lions as FSC claimed game one. Leading the charge for the Green & Gold was Tiffinee Harvey. The Lakeland, Fla. native went 2-for-4 with a home run and an RBI. Danielle Moreda drove in the Lions second run in her 2-for-4 performance, while Dianne Gonzalez tallied one run scored and went 1-for-3 from the plate. Ana Castillo, Sarah Boyd, and Brittany Yates added to the Lions hit total with a single apiece.
It was the Moccasins who initially dented the scoreboard as they platted two first inning runs. The Mocs combined for four hits, including a Christine Clark RBI double to right centerfield, which opened the scoring for the challengers.
Throughout the contest, Florida Southern continually put runners in scoring position. Still, a solid defensive effort and another quality start by Ashton Whidden (12-11), kept the Mocs off the board during regulation.
The Lions’ offense got rolling in the sixth inning when Harvey, whose team trailed by two, stepped to the plate with the bases empty and no outs. She proceeded to send an 0-1 Christine Clark offering over the right field fence for solo home run, cutting the lead in half.
The Lions used the momentum of Harvey’s hit to tie the game in the seventh inning. Gonzalez blasted a one-out double to centerfield and was driven in by Moreda one batter later with a single over the pitchers’ head. With the ballgame now tied, the Green & Gold proceeded to load the bases during the same inning but could not score the game-winning tally.
Both starting pitchers remained in the game during extras, as each posted zero’s in the eighth. Unfortunately, Florida Southern strung together four hits in the ninth inning, and combined with a Lions’ fielding miscue, allowed their rivals to score three times to take a 5-2 lead. The big blow in the inning came on an Erin Foley two-RBI double.
Clark shutdown the Lions’ attack in the bottom of the frame to improve to 9-8 on the season. Despite the loss, Whidden threw well for the Lions brass allowing 12 hits and three earned runs.
Both teams struggled to bring runners in as they each left eight runners on base.
The two teams will conclude their Sunshine State Conference series on April 14 with a doubleheader beginning at 6:00 p.m.