DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Saint Leo baseball piled on seven runs in the top of the ninth inning and rolled to a 12-6 win over Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on Friday night at Sliwa Stadium, to open the teams' three-game weekend series.
Saint Leo improves to 15-14 overall with the win, while Sunshine State Conference provisional member Embry-Riddle tumbles to 10-21 overall. The Lions and the Eagles will conclude the series on Saturday at Sliwa Stadium with a doubleheader starting at 1:00 p.m.
The Lions chalked up just three hits in their seven-run uprising in the ninth to bust open what had been a 5-4 ballgame.
Saint Leo took advantage of a costly two-run Eagle error at short with bases loaded and none out to push across the first two Saint Leo runs of the ninth inning. Four walks issued by Embry-Riddle pitchers during the frame – two of those with bases loaded – furthered the Saint Leo cause, with the Lions plating two more runs on an RBI single by Chase Turner and a sacrifice fly to right by Lane Stancil.
Embry-Riddle countered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth to cut the margin to 12-6, but Saint Leo reliever Jordan Pendleton induced a fly out to center field to end the game with bases loaded for the Eagles.
Saint Leo posted two runs in the first inning on two runs and a pair of Embry-Riddle errors, then extended its lead to 4-1 with two more runs in the top of the second. Alex Mata singled through the right side for the Lions' two runs in the second inning, plating Stancil and Derek Gibree.
Embry-Riddle trimmed Saint Leo's lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the third inning, when Jonathan Camp sent a two-run single down the right field line.
The Lions got one of those runs back in the fourth – again off the bat of Mata, who laced a single through the left side to score Gibree. From there, the score remained unchanged for the next three innings with neither side able to get a runner past second in the fifth, sixth, or seventh.
Harris accounted for three of Saint Leo's 12 hits during the game, and crossed twice for the Lions. Stancil, Mata, Turner, and Shane Williams each had two hits, with Mata logging three runs batted in.
Saint Leo starter Tyler Bauman fanned nine Embry-Riddle batters over 6 2/3 innings of work to get the win, improving his record to 3-0.
For Embry-Riddle, Luis Olivier charted three hits in four at bats, while Camp and Kyle Guttveg each finished with two hits. Starter Matthew Russell yielded five runs, three earned, on nine hits on his way to the loss.
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