SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo baseball team defeated the visiting Florida Southern Moccasins in regional action, Wednesday night from Thomas B. Southard Stadium on the campus of Saint Leo University. Sophomore righty Michael Dunnigan took home the win for the Lions, but it was a true team effort for the Lions offensively, as they pounded nine hits for nine runs and took home a 9-5 victory.
Starting pitcher Liam O'Sullivan held the Mocs scoreless in the top of first, and the Lions came out hungry in the bottom of the inning. On the first pitch of his at-bat, sophomore Taylor Perez sent a two-run homerun over the left-centerfield fence, giving the Lions an early lead. After Cole Stancil took first base on a hit-by-pitch and Fran Whitten sent a double to the right-centerfield wall, a groundout allowed the Lions to tack on another run, heading into the second with a three-run lead.
The Mocs scored one run in both the second and third innings, but it was the top of the fourth that gave them a lead, as Florida Southern came up with two runs after tallying two doubles and a single.
The Lions were able to tie the score in the bottom of the fifth thanks to an RBI double from Cole Stancil, but the sixth inning would remain scoreless for both teams.
Though the Mocs took home another run in the top of the seventh, the Lions' offense exploded in the bottom of the inning to bring home four more runs and take the lead.
With the bases loaded and one out, sophomore Alex Mata came in during a pinch-hit situation to send a sacrifice fly to the outfield and score Taylor Perez, tying the game. After an RBI single from Dylan Harris scored two, freshman Troy Seiber reached on an error by the Mocs' third baseman, scoring Harris and taking an 8-5 lead.
After holding Florida Southern scoreless in the top of the eighth, the Lions' Taylor Perez sent a sacrifice fly to the outfield to score junior catcher Dale Irving and take a four-run lead.
Solid pitching from senior Brandon Terry in the top of the ninth inning held the Mocs scoreless, allowing the Lions to cruise to a 9-5 victory.
Though O'Sullivan got the start in the contest, it was sophomore pitcher Michael Dunnigan who took home the victory, giving him his first win of the season. Terry, who came in for two innings of work, earned the save, which marked his second of the year.
The Lions' offense earned nine hits in the victory, tallying three walks and three hit-by-pitches. In addition to Taylor Perez, junior Cole Stancil and senior Fran Whitten recorded extra basehits in the effort.
The Lions will return to action on Friday, February 21 when they host Clearwater Christian. First pitch for the contest is set for 6:00 p.m.
For more on the Saint Leo baseball team, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also, be sure to 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' Saint Leo Athletics on Twitter and Instagram.