LAKELAND, Fla. – The Saint Leo University softball team (26-17, 5-7 SSC) dropped a pair of Sunshine State Conference games to the Florida Southern College Moccasins (31-10, 9-3 SSC) Wednesday evening from Barnett Field in Lakeland, Fla.
Game one was an old fashioned pitcher’s duel between the two schools, as one run proved to be the difference in the Mocs’ 2-1 victory. Hitting ruled the stage in game two as the two clubs pounded out 22 combined hits. Unfortunately, the Lions seventh inning charge wasn’t enough as they fell 10-8.
Nine different Lions collected hits in the doubleheader, including four by Tatiana Casis who went a combined 4-for-8 with two RBI and two runs scored. Amber Martyn also had a big day at the plate for SLU going 3-for-6 with an RBI and a run scored. Ali Lamb and Ashley Urbanik also picked up two hits apiece, including two solo home runs for Lamb and a three-run blast for Urbanik. Ally Maddox delivered a sacrifice fly as she went 1-for-4 from the plate with a pair of walks. Dianne Gonzalez and Brittany Yates ended the series 1-for-6, while Tiffinee Harvey and Elysha Agen each delivered an RBI double.
In the opening game of the doubleheader, it appeared Florida Southern was going to pick up where they left off yesterday, placing a run on the scoreboard in the first inning. But Urbanik quickly settled down in the circle as she hung zeroes on the board over the next three innings.
The Lions on the other hand had a hard time coming up with the clutch hit when they needed it. SLU left the bases loaded in the second inning and then stranded a runner at second base in the fourth inning.
Still, Saint Leo continued to fight and they eventually broke through against Brittany Minton with a run in the top of the fifth inning. Lamb connected on the first of her two home runs on the day with a solo shot down the leftfield line to tie the ballgame at 1-1. Martyn followed that with a single and eventually made her way over to third with one out base before being stranded, the Lions fourth baserunner left in scoring position.
Florida Southern was quick to answer the Lions run with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning, as an RBI triple put the Mocs up for good, 2-1.
SLU fought to get back into the game but the Mocs’ pitching sat six of the next eight Lions’ batters down to end all chances of a comeback.
Urbanik (15-14) was the tough luck loser for Saint Leo as she only surrendered three hits in the outing, while striking out three Moccasins.
Game two was all about the offenses as the two schools combing for 18 runs and 22 hits. But for the third time in the series the result went in favor of the Moccasins.
Harvey led the game off with a double to left center and later scored on an RBI single by Casis. Three batters later, Maddox made the score 2-0 as she sent a sacrifice fly to leftfield scoring Casis from third.
As it had done all series, Florida Southern answered with four runs on five hits in the bottom of the first inning.
Saint Leo showed resolve though quickly tying the game at four with two runs in the top of the second. After Lamb reached on a fielding error by the shortstop, Martyn tripled her home to cut the lead to 4-3. Two batters later, Casis came up with a clutch two-out double, scoring Martyn.
The tie was short-lived though, as Sarah Lovestrand scored on a groundout to the second baseman, giving the lead back to the Mocs.
The score remained the same until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Mocs pushed their sixth run across to give them a 6-4 lead.
Lamb once again used the long ball to cut the lead back to one, sending a ball over 225 to centerfield, her third home run of the season.
For the fourth time on the day, the Mocs answered the Lions challenge with runs of their own in the bottom of the inning. This time Florida Southern used a four-run sixth inning to jump ahead permanently.
With the score 10-5 and down to their final three outs, Saint Leo tried to mount a comeback. Agen started the inning off with a double which was followed by an infield single by Casis to put runners at the corners. A batter later Urbanik made the game much more interesting as she sent a towering flyball over the leftfield fence to make to score 10-8. The comeback attempt couldn’t go any further though, as the next batter flied out to the catcher.
Kristen Kelly took the loss for the Lions. She went all six innings allowed 11 hits and eight earned runs, while dropping to 9-3 on the season.
The Lions have now lost five out of their last six contests, all of which have been conference games.
The Lions return to SSC action this Saturday, March 4 as they take on rival the University of Tampa from University Field. The opening game of the three-game series is set for 4:00 pm.