March 9, 2012

Brandt, Santa Guide Lions Past Mocs in SSC Opener

LAKELAND, Fla. – The Saint Leo baseball team (13-5, 1-0 SSC) opened its 2012 Sunshine State Conference schedule with a hard earned 4-2 victory over rival Florida Southern College (10-8, 2-2 SSC), Friday night from Henley Field. The Lions pounded-out 13 hits in the win, while Aaron Brandt allowed only two earned runs over 6.2 innings of work.

Saint Leo did all their damage in the first three innings as they plated four runs, including Anthony Santa's second home run of the season. Brandt and bullpen did the rest as they held the mighty Mocs' offense to just six hits and two earned runs.

Four Lions posted multiple hit games as both Ryan Brnovich and Brendan Collins secured three hits apiece, while Frank Rawdow and Taed Moses registered two hits each. 

Santa wasted no time in providing the visiting Lions the lead as he brought home the first of his two run-scoring hits on a sacrifice fly to centerfield, allowing Brnovich to score from third.

Brnovich extended the Lions' lead to 2-0 in the second inning as his single through the left side scored Rawdow.

After seeing the lead trimmed on a solo shot by the Mocs in the bottom of the second inning, the Lions' Santa blasted a solo shot of his own over the left field fence in the top of the third. Saint Leo wasn't finished, however, as Rawdow continued the inning by rocketing a single to the shortstop scoring Zach Miller from third making the score 4-1.

Brandt controlled the game from that point forward. He retired 12 of the next 15 batters until the seventh inning. After allowing a run on three-straight base runners in the seventh, both he and Shaun Gough shut the door on Florida Southern with three consecutive outs. The Mocs did not get any closer as they could not break the steady Saint Leo relief.

Overall, Brandt was brilliant on the bump as he struck out a season-high six batters en route to his fourth win of the season. Meanwhile, in relief, the bullpen was lights out as both Shaun Gough and Adam Albers did not surrender a hit in a combined 2.1 innings of work. Albers was credited with the save.

Additionally, the Lions stole four bases.

The Lions will continue their SSC series with Florida Southern on Saturday, March 10. First pitch for game one of the doubleheader is scheduled for 1 p.m. from Henley Field.

For the latest news, information, and updates on the baseball team, visit SaintLeoLions.com.