WINTER PARK, Fla. – Run-scoring doubles by redshirt junior Dylan Harris and redshirt senior Alex Mata in the sixth inning provided the go-ahead runs as Saint Leo posted a 4-3 road win over Rollins College, in a Sunshine State Conference baseball matchup Friday at Alfond Stadium.
Saint Leo improved to 13-10 overall, 1-3 in the SSC, with the victory, its second in as many days over the Tars.
Trailing 2-1 coming into the sixth inning, Lane Stancil got aboard with a single up the middle and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. Harris smacked a double down the left field line to score Stancil, knotting the game at 2-2.
The Lions took the lead two batters later, when Mata laced a double to right center, plating Harris.
Saint Leo extended its lead to 4-2 in the seventh, when Brett Coffel's grounder to short allowed Derek Gibree to score. Gibree drew a one-out walk earlier in the frame, and advanced around the bases on a Rollins error and a Harris walk.
Rollins got one run back in the bottom of the eighth and had the tying and go-ahead runs at second and third with none out. Right-hander Zach Whitaker came on in relief of Jordan Pendleton and retired three of the next four batters to get Saint Leo out of the jam with no further harm, allowing only a two-out walk to load the bases.
Whitaker completed the win in the ninth to earned the save, inducing a foul territory pop-up to third and then, after allowing a base hit to left field, striking out a pair of Tar batters to end the game.
Pendleton got credit for the win for his four inning relief stint; he allowed a mere two hits and struck out two Tars while evening his record at 2-2. The save was Whitaker's third of the season. Starter Tyler Bauman lasted into the fourth inning and fanned four Rollins batters, before being lifted in favor of Pendleton.
Mata, Chase Turner, and Zach Scott each had two hits for the Lions in the win. Mata's double on Friday versus the Tars gives him 59 for his career, tying him with Matt Gifford (1994-98) for second among Saint Leo career leaders.
Rollins collected 12 hits over the game, led by Brian Brooker's 3-for-5 effort at the plate. Tar starter Brad Case took the loss, after allowing four runs, three earned, on eight hits.
Saint Leo and Rollins will conclude the three-game SSC series, as well as their five-game slate of games over the past week, with a doubleheader on Saturday, March 18, starting at 1:00 p.m. at Alfond Stadium.
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