FLORENCE, S.C. – The Saint Leo University softball team (13-10) swept through day two action at the Francis Marion Tournament Saturday at Freedom Park in Florence, S.C. The Lions offense came through in the clutch in game one as the Lions, who were down 3-1 in the fifth, scored six runs during the inning to give them a lead they never relinquished. After the offense did its job in game one, pitching ruled the scene in game two, winning a 3-0 contest over the Lander Bearcats.
On the day, Amber Martyn went 2-for-5, including the first home run of her career. The right fielder also scored a pair of runs while picking up an RBI. Tatiana Casis also picked up a pair of hits, going 2-for-6 from the plate and scoring and driving in a run. While the biggest hit of the day came from Brittany Yates, as she went 2-for-6 from the playe while delivering an eventual game-winning grand slam in game one. She finished the day with five RBI and two runs scored. Tiffinee Harvey plated a run, while going 1-for-4 from the dish. Ali Lamb, on the other hand, picked up a base hit and scored a run for SLU. The senior duo of Ally Maddox and Ashley Urbanik each etched their names into the stat book by picking up a pair of singles.
In game one, Saint Leo exchanged zeroes with the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears through the first two innings. But the Bears struck in the top of the third with three runs the give them the advantage.
SLU didn’t stay down for long though, as Amber Martyn hammered her first collegiate home run deep over the leftfield fence to cut the Bears lead to two.
The Bears’ bats remained silent over the next two innings, just as the Saint Leo sticks began to heat up. In the fifth, the bottom of the order stepped up for SLU as both Lamb and Martyn started the inning off with singles. After Elysha Agen was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Tiffinee Harvey got a free pass, driving in the second run of the ballgame for the Lions. Casis followed with an RBI single over the second baseman’s head knotting the game at three. Two batters later, the stage was set for Yates as the bags were packed with Lions and after fighting off multiple pitches, Yates took a Bears’ offering and delivered it over the leftfield fence for her sixth home run of the year. The blast gave the Lions a 7-3 lead.
Lenoir-Rhyne didn’t quit though as they quickly answered with a run in the top of the sixth to make the score 7-4. After Lenoir-Rhyne pushed two more in scoring position, Lions’ starter Ashley Urbanik felt enough was enough as she closed the inning by forcing a ground out to end the Bears threat.
Urbanik (6-9) and the Lions’ defense didn’t let Lenoir-Rhyne get any closer as the Lions hurler struck out the final two batters of the game to preserve the win.
Urbanik went all seven innings, scattering nine hits and striking out seven batters.
Game two was the complete opposite, as Lions starter Kristen Kelly (5-1) breezed through Lander Bearcats lineup, allowing only two hits through seven complete innings en route to the shutout victory.
As the game quickly moved into the third inning with no score, Saint Leo was able to piece to together a run in the bottom half of the inning. Harvey delivered a single through the middle which was fielded by the shortstop, however, the shortstops throw went astray and allowed Agen, who was on second, to come all around to score.
With a 1-0 lead, Kelly completely took over, allowing only one base runner over the final four innings.
In the bottom of the sixth, the Lions helped Kelly’s cause by adding a pair of insurance runs. Both Maddox and Yates provided back-to-back hits which scored two runs for the Lions to make the score 3-0 in favor of the Green and Gold. The score held in the top half of the seventh as the Lions continued their winning ways.
Saint Leo has now won three in a row and six of their last seven games.
Saint Leo concludes the Francis Marion Tournament on Sunday, March 8 with an 11:00 am showdown against Newbery College. The game will be broadcast live on the Saint Leo Lions AudioCast Network.