SAINT LEO, Fla. – After sweeping the Florida Tech Panthers in a three-game Sunshine State Conference series in late March, the Saint Leo baseball team defeated the visiting Panthers in a non-conference regional matchup, Tuesday night from Thomas B. Southard Stadium. The 7-5 victory signaled the Lions' 30th win of the season, pushing their overall record to 30-13 on the year.
The second-best offense in the Sunshine State Conference showed itself early in the contest, as the Lions scored two runs in the bottom of the first inning. The effort came off the bat of senior Fran Whitten, when he blasted a two-run homerun over the left field fence for the early lead.
After a scoreless second inning, the visiting Panthers put themselves on the board in the top of the third, scoring one run off of back to back doubles from Florida Tech's Grant McKown and Austin Allen.
Both teams went scoreless for the next two innings, but it was Florida Tech who got their offense going in the top of the sixth, picking up a double and two singles to score another run and tie the game at 2-2.
Saint Leo responded in the bottom of the inning, however, registering four hits and three runs to take a 5-2 lead. Sophomore Cole Stancil led off the inning with a one-out double down the left field line, which Jordan Taylor followed up with an RBI double to right centerfield for the lead. An RBI single from Kevin Games put the Lions up by two, and junior catcher Dale Irving then ripped a double down the left field line to give Saint Leo a three-run cushion.
Neither team scored in the seventh inning, but Saint Leo took advantage of the Panthers' lack of offense in the bottom of the eighth to tack on two runs and go ahead by five.
Florida Tech gained some momentum in the top of the ninth to score two runs, but it would not be enough, as the Lions took home the 7-5 victory for their 30th win of the year.
Junior Tyrone Miller took the mound for the Lions in the victory, tossing five innings and allowing just four hits. In the top of the sixth, senior Ryan Sadler came in to pitch, earning the win in 3.1 innings of work in which he allowed three hits. After a brief appearance from junior lefty Brett Nizamoff, senior Brandon Terry came in for the final two outs to earn his ninth save of the year.
As a team, Saint Leo recorded 11 hits in the effort, walking three times and notching six extra-base hits.
The Lions will return to action on Friday, April 25 when they travel to Lakeland, Fla., to take on the Florida Southern Moccasins in yet another Sunshine State Conference series. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.
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, Instagram, and YouTube.