SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo baseball team  could not pull off the opening game victory over Nova Southeastern as the Sharks posted an 11-2 victory in the Sunshine State Conference series opener on Friday night at Thomas B. Southard Stadium.

In what started out as a game where the visiting Sharks slowly added runs, scoring once in the second, third and fifth innings, the Lions managed to stay close, looking at a 3-1 deficit as the game headed into the top of the seventh.

Starting Saint Leo pitcher Aaron Brandt (4-5) would allow two of the next three batters to reach base as he would give way to reliever Brandon Terry.  Terry would allow three hits and a walk as the visitors from Ft. Lauderdale scored four runs in the frame to break the game open.

SLU (13-23, 2-11 SSC) was only able to score a lone run in the eighth as Nova Southeastern (24-13, 11-5 SSC) added three more runs in the final frame.

Despite being outhit 15-to-9, the top three batters in the Lions’ lineup managed multiple hits and Anthony Santa and Chris Newcomb went 2-for-4 and Ryan Brnovich went 2-for-5.  Brnovich, the Lions’ leadoff hitter, is flirting with a .400 average as he currently sits at .397.

Brandt was the deciding pitcher for the Lions, while Issac Hicks (5-2) tossed over seven innings for the Sharks as he picked up the NSU win.

The conference series continues tomorrow with the first game of a scheduled doubleheader starting at 1:00 p.m. at Thomas B. Southard Stadium on the Saint Leo campus.