April 19, 2014

Ashley Ehlers’ No-Hitter Highlights Doubleheader Sweep of Florida Southern

Saint Leo defeats Moccasins 1-0 in both games of final home series  

SAINT LEO, Fla. – Pitching was the order of the day for the Saint Leo University softball team as they defeated Florida Southern University in the final home Sunshine State Conference series of the year. The Lions handed the Moccasins a couple of 1-0 losses in games one and two, with the second game going to 10 innings. 

Saint Leo has won five of its last six games, and improves its overall record to 28-19 on the year and 10-11 in SSC play. Florida Southern drops to 22-19 on the year and 8-13 in league play. 

In game one, a one-hour rain delay didn't seem to faze Saint Leo starting pitcher Ashley Ehlers who would dominate in the circle throwing a no-hitter, while striking out two and walking just three Florida Southern batters. 

After the Moccasins went three-up and three-down to start the game, the Lions would threaten in the bottom of the first inning. Adriana Sanders led off the inning with a bunt single and then moved to second when McKenzie Burns walked. Burns then tried to steal third, initially making it, however, over slid the base and was tagged out. Chelsea Steedley then struck out swinging leaving Burns at second. 

Ehlers would never let the Mocs pose a threat during the contest. After a Heather Brinkmeier two-out walk, Ehlers would retire the next nine batters until Sierra Lacy advanced on a walk in the top half of the fifth inning. Brinkmeier would stay at first after Allasyn Lieneck ended the inning with a fly ball to left field. 

The Lions finally got on the board in the bottom of the fifth inning. Rachael Heath opened the Lions half of the frame with a bunt single, and then moved over to second on a Burns single. With Ewing at bat, Heath would steal third and then came home on a throwing error by Florida Southern catcher Kim Booker, giving the Lions a 1-0 lead. 

After a ground out to third base by the Mocs' Leah Pemberton, Priscilla Gonzalez would get on base with a walk; Ehlers' third and final free pass of the game. She would advance to second on a sacrifice bunt to Ehlers. Ehlers then got Brinkmeier to fly out to center field ending the game. 

Saint Leo would get eight hits off Mocs' pitcher Brandi Jones with Burns (2-2, walk) and Kafalas (2-3) getting four of the eight.

In game two the Lions' pitching continued to be the story for the Saint Leo. Alana Tabel got the start and picked up right where Ehlers left off in the pitching circle going 8.1 innings without giving up a hit. The Lions would get 12 hits, however they would not be able to push a runner across home plate in regulation. 

Saint Leo had its best chance to get on the scoreboard first in the sixth inning loading the bases with no outs. Heath started the inning off with a bunt single to Florida Southern pitcher Chelsea Oglevie, and then advanced to third on a single up the middle by Sanders. Burns then came to bat and singled to third loading the bases. Oglevie would settle in, however, and get the next three batters in order to get out of the jam.

The Lions had an opportunity to win the game in the bottom of the seventh, getting runners on first and second by way of a Kafalas one-out single to third base, and then a George single up the middle. Oglevie, however would, once again get the next two batters – Heath and Sanders – to fly out ending the inning and sending the game to extra frames. 

Saint Leo finally took care of business in the bottom of the 10th inning putting the win, and the doubleheader sweep, in the books for Lions. Sanders started off the inning with a double to right center field, and then Burns followed with a bunt single putting runners at first and second. Ewing then moved the runners up with a sacrifice bunt. That would set the stage for Sarah Steiner who singled to left field, driving in Sanders for the game winner. 

Tabel would go nine innings and giving up only two hits on the afternoon, however would get a no decision. She struck out four and walked just one batter. 

Ehlers came in in relief and pitched one inning of no-hit ball while striking out one batter. 

Sanders finished game two going 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored. Burns was 3-for-5 and Kafalas 2-for-4 with a double. 

Florida Southern would finish game two with just two hits and left four runners on base. 

The Lions will close out their regular season schedule with a weekend series at Barry University April 25-26. The series will begin on Friday, April 25 at 6 p.m., and then conclude with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 26, at noon and 2 p.m. 

For more on the Saint Leo University softball team visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also be sure 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' the Lions on Twitter and Instagram.