MELBOURNE, Fla. – In a pitcher's duel, the Saint Leo baseball team came up a single run shy in the opening contest of a three-game Sunshine State Conference series on Friday night. The Lions fell 2-1 to the Panthers after Florida Tech scored the go-ahead run in the sixth inning. It was a difference-maker that improved Florida Tech to 23-16 overall and 8-7 in the SSC while Saint Leo fell to 20-16 and 3-10 in conference play.
The Panthers' first run came in the second inning as a leadoff walk came around to score. After a single to left and a hit-by-pitch, a one-out RBI single slapped back to the pitcher had Florida Tech on the board.
Similar to how FIT scored, the Lions plated their only run in the fourth when Anthony Santa was hit by an errant pitch to lead the inning off. A single by Dustin Brown advanced him over to third and then an RBI groundout by Brendan Collins sent Santa home and had the game knotted at a run apiece.
Saint Leo starter Rick Teasley and Florida Tech hurler Jason Boyer settled in for the pitcher's battle as they combined to scatter 13 hits, with just one hit going for multiple bases.
The deciding run came across in the sixth when a throwing error on Teasley allowed a runner to advance home. The miscue came after the first batter of the frame reached on a single and advanced to second on another hit. An attempted sacrifice bunt was misplayed and the Panthers suddenly led by a run.
The Lions would not be able to mount a rally in their final three chances, ultimately dropping the opener.
Boyer (6-3) picked up the win, tossing seven innings allowing a run on five hits. He struck out five Lions in the victory.
Teasley (4-5) tossed 5.2 innings before being chased after the go-ahead run crossed in the sixth. He allowed eight hits and was only credited with one earned run. He struck out three Panthers in the game.
The Lions will look to draw even in the conference series when the two teams square off in doubleheader action on Saturday afternoon. The Lions and Panthers will get game one underway at 1 p.m. at the Seminick-Hall Field. For the latest news, information, and updates on the baseball team, visit SaintLeoLions.com.