BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Saint Leo baseball team lived and died by the long ball on Friday afternoon as 11th-ranked Lynn University used a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to send the Lions to a 7-6 defeat in Sunshine State Conference action from the McCusker Sportsplex.
The game-deciding home run came in an inning where the Lions started with a 6-4 lead, and gave the home team multiple chances to retake the lead. A leadoff bunt caught the Saint Leo infield off guard, leading to a hit. It was followed by a dropped fly ball where the runner on base scored, setting up the blast down the left field line by Paul Stortini.
The three-run inning followed a frame where the Lions (22-21, 5-14 SSC) rallied to take a two-run advantage behind a clutch three-run home run by Chris Newcomb. The two out shot came after Dillon Vitale and Frank Rawdow earned walks. Newcomb's round-tripper was a no-doubter that exploded off his bat and sparked the Lions.
Unfortunately for the Lions, that momentum would not last.
Both starting pitchers, Saint Leo's Charles Neeley and Lynn's Shawn Kale went deep into the ball game, both tossing 6.1 innings as the game went into its final third with the Lions holding a 3-2 lead. Both hurlers ended without picking up a decision.
Lynn (32-13, 14-6 SSC) scored five runs across the seventh and eighth innings to squeeze out of the SSC series-opener with the win.
Reliever Andre Colon (3-2) picked up the win with just 1.1 innings of work, while Matthew Hewitt (1-2) was saddled with the loss.
Hitting leadoff for the Lions, Newcomb was the highlight hitter for the Lions as he went 3-for-4 with three RBI and the homer in the loss.
The Lions will look to draw even in the conference series when the two teams square off in doubleheader action on Saturday afternoon, the last gameday of the 2012 season. While looking to sweep tomorrow, a win in one of the games will mean the Lions finish 2012 with a winning record; a feat not seen since 2008. The Lions and Fighting Knights will get game one underway at noon on the diamond at the McCusker Sportsplex. For the latest news, information, and updates on Lions Baseball, visit SaintLeoLions.com.