FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Saint Leo baseball team nearly erased a three run deficit, but the Lions left two runners on base as the final game ended 6-5 in favor of the 17th ranked Nova Southeastern Sharks. With the win, the hosts swept the three-game Sunshine State Conference series in South Florida.
It was a similar day for the Lions in both ends of the rain-delayed doubleheader as Saint Leo (19-15, 3-9 SSC) held leads in both games.
Game one saw the Lions holding a 2-0 lead as the game moved into the bottom of the third inning before Nova Southeastern (23-6, 8-3 SSC) scored eight straight runs between the third and sixth frames. By the time the Lions managed to push a run across, the game was solidly in the Sharks' favor at 8-3 with just an inning left.
NSU would score another run in the bottom of the eighth to set the final score at 9-3.
In the nightcap, the Lions answered two early NSU runs to score three runs spread across the fourth and fifth innings as all runs were plated on RBI singles.
The game-deciding hit would come courtesy of NSU's Daniel Petitbon, who smacked a fifth-inning three-run homer that allowed the Sharks to take a 6-3 lead on the Lions with just two frames left.
Looking to sail through the final two innings, the Sharks were met with a big challenge when the Lions managed to score two runs in the seventh. SLU put two more runners on base, but a full-count groundout ended things in the host's favor.
Inserted into the lineup for today's games, freshman Bobby Twitty went a combined 4-for-6 with an RBI and a double. Sophomore Chris Newcomb was right behind Twitty with three hits in eight chances, registering three RBI and connecting on a double and a homer.
Charles Neely (4-4) was given the losing decision for the Lions in game one despite surrendering just one earned run in 4.2 innings. Cody Stiles (4-1) picked up the first game victory for the Sharks as he managed to get past the five innings required for a victory, going 5.2 innings and surrendering two runs.
In game two Aaron Brandt got the start but did not pick up the decision as reliever Adam Albers (0-1) came on in relief of Brandt when the Sharks took the lead. Kenny Miranda (1-0) picked up the win as he also appeared in relief for NSU.
The Lions will return home and face Southeastern University of Lakeland on Tuesday night in non-conference action. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. For the latest news, information, and updates on the baseball team, visit SaintLeoLions.com.