BOCA RATON, Fla. – The Saint Leo baseball team ended their season in disappointing fashion as they dropped both ends of a doubleheader by 4-2 and 3-2 scores to No. 11 Lynn University in Sunshine State Conference action on the final day of the 2012 season Saturday afternoon. The season's final game went extra innings as Lynn scored two runs in the extra frame, including the last run scoring on a fielding miscue, to close out the sweep.
Tied 2-2 in the first game, Lynn (34-13, 16-6 SSC) received a big boost from the bat of Austin Smith as he launched a two-run homer over the right-centerfield wall in the bottom of the seventh to send the Fighting Knights to the game one win.
The shot by Smith erased another outstanding outing from Saint Leo (22-23, 5-16 SSC) starting pitcher Rick Teasley (4-7) as he was saddled with the loss despite 6.2 innings pitched, giving up three earned on eight hits. He struck out six Fighting Knights.
Picking up the opening game win was Lynn pitcher Jason Whalen (5-2) who came on in relief and was the pitcher of record when the Fighting Knights took the lead. Andre Colon picked up the save despite the game ending with two Saint Leo runners on base.
Game two was a heartbreaking loss with the Lions forcing the nation's 11th-ranked team into extra innings.
Chris Newcomb led off the extra frame by launching a full-count pitch deep over the left field wall to give the Lions the advantage and again, the momentum.
Into the bottom of the frame, Lynn rallied when Nick Diorio legged out a bunt single down the third base line. Anthony Boza followed with a base hit but was called out when a ground ball up the middle was tossed behind the head of the shortstop to second base for the force.
With a 1-1 count and two outs, Lynn head coach Rudy Garbalosa went with a gutsy double-steal call. Daniel Torres threw down to second in hopes of catching an advancing Lynn runner and Diorio took off for home, sliding under the return throw to tie the game. Two pitches later, an error on a throw into the ground from shortstop to first allowed Cory Elasik to score the heartbreaker from second to win the game.
The loss overshadowed the final outing from Saint Leo pitcher Aaron Brandt (4-6) as he went the entire distance, including the extra frame. His final eight innings of work in the Green and Gold saw him allow just two earned runs and only five hits.
Austin Bailey (7-2) picked up the win for the Fighting Knights.
The Lions now move into the offseason after closing out a 22-win 2012 campaign. In addition to Brandt and Santa, the Lions also bid farewell to seniors Myron Kirchner, Jamie Tutko, Shaun Gough, Zach Miller and Dustin Brown.
To keep up with the Lions over the summer months, be sure to check in with SaintLeoLions.com as Head Coach Russ McNickle builds his 2013 squad.