Lions Drop 5-2 Decision to Nova Southeastern in Series Opener

FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Saint Leo baseball team dropped the first game of their Sunshine State Conference weekend series to the Nova Southeastern Sharks, Friday night from the NSU Baseball Complex. The loss pushed the Lions to 16-9 on the season.

Sophomore pitcher Michael Dunnigan got the start for the Lions, tossing 5.1 innings before freshman Ethan Lichtenberg was called in for relief duties. Facing 36 batters, the pair combined for seven strikeouts, allowing 13 hits and two walks.

The Sharks jumped on the board first, picking up two runs in the bottom of the first off back-to-back doubles.

After a scoreless second inning, Saint Leo answered back to tie the game at 2-2. The inning began with a leadoff solo homerun over the left-centerfield fence from junior Kevin Games, which marked his first homerun with the green and gold since transferring in last semester. Later in the inning, senior Fran Whitten ripped an RBI single through the left side, scoring senior Chris Newcomb to make it a tie-ballgame.

Nova Southeastern retaliated in the bottom of the third, scoring one run off an RBI sacrifice flyout to take back the lead at 3-2.

Though the Lions scored one in the top of the sixth to tie the game once more, the Sharks answered back in the bottom of the inning to score two more runs. The 5-3 score would stay on the board for the remainder of the game, as the Sharks walked away with the first victory of the three-game series.

As a team, the Lions collected 7 hits on the evening, and senior Fran Whitten was the only member of the green and gold to rally for a multi-hit effort. Jordan Taylor, the Lions' designated hitter, was the only Saint Leo player to earn a walk in the loss.

Nova Southeastern and Saint Leo will return to play tomorrow when they finish up games two and three of the Sunshine State series in a Saturday afternoon doubleheader. First pitch of the day is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. at the NSU baseball complex.

For more on the Saint Leo baseball program, visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also, be sure to 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' Saint Leo Athletics on Twitter and Instagram.