SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo softball team (17-27, 2-12 SSC) dropped a Sunshine State Conference twin bill to the Florida Tech Panthers (23-21, 9-8 SSC) by the scores of 3-2 and 5-1, Thursday evening from University Softball Stadium.
The Lions were dealt a narrow one-run loss in the opener as Florida Tech scored three unanswered runs to claim the win. Meanwhile, a Florida Tech three-run seventh inning highlighted the Panthers nightcap victory.
The Lions posted 13 hits on the evening, including Alex Garris who led the club with three base knocks. Four other Lions also registered two hits apiece with three, Rachelle Gremo, Danielle Moreda, and Brittany Yates, collecting doubles.
The Lions' offense got rolling early in game one as they scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first inning. After a passed ball gave the Lions a 1-0 advantage, Moreda roped an RBI double down the left field line scoring Ali Lamb and putting Saint Leo up 2-0.
Florida Tech chipped away at the lead, scoring one run in the third inning, while capitalizing on a fielding miscue in the fourth, which led to a pair of Panthers' runs.
The 3-2 Florida Tech advantage proved to be sufficient enough, despite Saint Leo's best efforts of getting back into the game. The Lions loaded the bases in the fourth, in addition to positing two more base runners in the seventh, but clutch Panthers' pitching kept the Lions off the board at each crucial juncture.
Megan Still (7-16) took the narrow for the Lions as she struck out five batters while going the distance. Panthers' hurler Brianna Barth registered the win for the visiting Panthers, in addition to Taylor Smith collecting her second save of the season.
In game two, pitching controlled the scene again for the Panthers as they made their 1-0 lead stick until the sixth inning when they added a second run. Still, the Lions refused to quit as McKenzie Burns sliced the lead in half on an RBI single in the bottom of the inning. The Lions couldn't produce any more out of the bases loaded situation as they went into the final frame down 2-1.
However, a three-run outburst by the Panthers in the seventh inning clinched the game for Florida Tech as they made the 5-1 lead stand as the eventual final.
In total, the Lions left 19 runners on base while leaving the bases loaded four times.
Lions' freshman Ashley Ehlers (4-4) was saddled with the loss as she tossed 6.1 innings. The Panthers saw a repeat of game one as Barth posted the win and Smith recorded the save.
The Lions will return to the field on Friday, April 6, when they close-out their SSC series with Florida Tech. First pitch single game is scheduled for noon from University Softball Stadium.
For more on the softball team, visit SaintLeoLions.com.