AMERICUS, Ga. – It was not quite the first day that Head Coach Russ McNickle was looking for as his Saint Leo baseball team dropped both ends of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon as they lost game one 6-1 and dropped the nightcap in the last inning 5-4.
The Lions, who dropped to 3-5 after the twin losses, suffered both frustrating setbacks in completely different fashion.
In the opener, the Lions were on the board in the first inning when a leadoff double by Ryan Brnovich came around to score in the next at-bat when Ryan Powers also doubled to put the Lions on top.
That would be all the scoring in the first four and a half innings as Saint Leo starter Aaron Brandt and GSW starter Trent Franzago would settle down to put zeros on the board.
The Hurricanes tied the game in the fifth on a suicide squeeze and then opened the game up in the sixth when they scored four runs, most crossing as a result of two SLU errors in the inning.
With the 5-1 score, the Lions could not find the offense to mount a comeback as they went down in order in the seventh and eighth innings and only managed a hit in the ninth as GSW closed out the win.
Things looked more promising in game two when the Lions responded to an early Georgia Southwestern run with a four-spot in the top of the third inning. Another Brnovich double along with a Frank Rawdow single had two Lions in position for the Dustin Brown two-RBI single that he worked through the right side of the infield. Daniel Torres’ double down the left field line saw Brown score to expand the Lions’ lead. By the end of the frame, the Lions would get those four runs on five hits and benefit from a Hurricane fielding error.
The Lions looked at a 4-1 advantage with four innings remaining, but SLU pitching would surrender two runs in the fourth inning to put the score at 4-3.
GSW would work some two-out magic in the fifth as they scored the equalizer on a hard-hit ball that worked its way under Powers’ glove and allowed the run to cross the plate.
A scoreless sixth saw GSW put in former Saint Leo pitcher Stephen Daneman, who kept the Lions off the scoreboard for the next two innings, allowing the hosts to plate the game-winner with two outs in the seventh.
Ultimately, it proved to be an outing where the Lions scored all their runs in just two of the day’s 16 innings.
Brown had the best overall day as he went a combined 3-for-6 with two RBI and two walks. Brandt (1-1) and game-two reliever Cody Johnson (1-1) proved to be the pitchers of decision for the Lions.
GSW right fielder Andrew Anderson had a career day for the Hurricanes with a 7-for-8 day with three RBI, including the game-winner. Franzago (1-2) and Daneman (1-0) earned the wins for Georgia Southwestern.
The Lions will have an opportunity to get one victory in the series when they square off against the Hurricanes on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.