March 24, 2012

Lions Swept by No. 4 Tampa

SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo baseball team could not solve the University of Tampa pitching staff as the visiting fourth-ranked Spartans swept aside the Lions 11-2 and 5-2 in Sunshine State Conference doubleheader action on Saturday afternoon from Southard Stadium.

The loss drops the Lions to 18-10 overall as they are now 3-5 in conference while Tampa, claiming their first SSC series win of 2012 improves to 22-5 and 5-4 in the SSC.

The opening game was decided by two frames where the Spartans exploded for five and four runs in the second and fifth innings respectively.  The fifth inning runs were particularly frustrating as the Lions looked to be out of the inning unscathed, but a two-out, fielder's choice play to third seemed to be routine, but the umpire ruled Taed Moses's foot off the bag allowing the inning to continue. The Spartans would eventually score all four runs in the frame after that play.

Starting Saint Leo pitcher Charles Neely (4-3) only managed 4.1 innings of work and was responsible for the decision and eight of Tampa's 11 runs.  Sean Bierman (4-2) was responsible for keeping the Saint Leo bats muted, throwing six complete allowing just three hits.

In Game Two, similar to last weekend's final game against Barry, Tampa cracked the scoreboard and took the lead on one swing of the bat in the fifth inning.  With Saint Leo holding a slim 1-0 lead Tampa's Andrew Jones took a Rick Teasley 1-2 pitch over the left field wall for a two-run homer.

Saint Leo would answer with a run in the bottom of the inning on a Ryan Brnovich RBI ground out, but Tampa added two more runs in the top of the sixth inning to widen the gap and tilt the game in its favor.

Teasley (4-3) picked up the losing decision as he surrendered pitching duties with a tie score and two runners on base.  Those runners would eventually score, giving the decision to the junior.  Tampa's Preston Packrall (5-1) picked up the win in relief as UT only allowed the Lions three hits in the game.

Brendan Collins continued his hot streak as he went a combined 4-for-7 and was the only Lions with three hits in the opener.  Michael Revell, responsible for two of the Lions' three hits in game two, went 3-for-4 with two RBI.

The Lions will look to rebound from the weekend series when they host NCAA South Region rival Valdosta State on Wednesday night.  First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Southard Stadium. For the latest news, information, and updates on the baseball team, visit SaintLeoLions.com.