Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. – The Saint Leo University softball team (27-22, 6-12 SSC) split a pair of Sunshine State Conference games to Nova Southeastern, Saturday afternoon from the AD Griffin Sports Complex in Boca Raton, Fla.

Ashley Urbanik outdueled Dani Caron in game one, winning 2-1 behind a seven inning, three-hit effort from the Lions ace. The Lions fell in the night cap though,4-3 despite a two-run rally in the seventh inning to pull within one run.

Nine different Lions collected hits on the day, including a three-hit effort from Amber Martyn and two-hit performance from Tiffinee Harvey. Martyn went 3-for-5 from the plate including a double. Harvey also doubled at the plate while going 2-for-8. Dianne Gonzalez and Elysha Agen each picked up a double, while Tatiana Casis, Ali Lamb and Urbanik delivered clutch RBI singles.

At the onset of game one, both offenses were clicking as Saint Leo posted two runs on the scoreboard in the first inning. Agen led the ballgame off with a double over the leftfielders head which was quickly followed by a single by Harvey advanced Agen to third. Casis then hit into a fielder’s choice allowing her to score and giving the Lions a 1-0 lead. Casis then put herself scoring position by stealing second base. Urbanik followed with an RBI single up the middle scoring the Lions’ third baseman from second base making the score 2-0. It proved to be the game-winning RBI.

Nova Southeastern answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning, as their shortstop reached safely on a bunt single scoring Noemi Luciani from third with one out. Urbanik closed the door on the Sharks’ threat with by striking out the final two batters of the inning.

The game quickly became a pitcher’s duel as both offenses went dormant. The Lions only had four hits the remainder of the ballgame, but Urbanik was that much better against NSU hitters, allowing only two hits and no runs over the final six innings pitched.

Urbanik (16-18) did not allow a single Nova Southeastern base runner over the final three innings of work. She finished the game with seven strikeouts and no earned runs given up, sealing the Lions 2-1 win.

The win snapped the Lions seven-game losing streak.

In game two, Nova Southeastern put a three spot on the board in the third inning to take an early 3-0 lead.

NSU added to their lead in the fourth inning, when two hits plated a one run to make the score 4-0. 

The Lions refused to quit as they picked up a run in the fifth inning. After Maddox walked, Gonzalez doubled to leftfield to put two runners in scoring position. Maddox then scored on a wild pitch to make the score 4-1.

The score remained 4-1 until the seventh inning when the Lions jumped on the comeback trail. Lexi Sarradet began the inning by walking Urbanik and Brittany Yates. An infield single loaded the bases and a one-out, two-rbi single by Lamb scored two runs cutting the NSU lead to one, 4-3. Martyn then hit an infield single to reload the bases, but the Lions couldn’t bring home any of the base runners over the next two batters as the comeback attempt ended one run short of tying the game.

Kristen Kelly began the game in the circle for the Lions and went one and two-thirds innings pitched before exiting the game in the second inning for Urbanik. Kelly got the no decision while Urbanik (16-18) picked up the loss. She went four and one-third innings for the Green & Gold, allowing four runs (two earned) and striking out two Sharks.

The Lions dropped two of three games in the series and have dropped 10 of their last 12 games.

The Lions now prepare for a mid-week SSC series with Eckerd College. It will mark the final home games of the 2009 season for the Lions with Wednesday’s doubleheader marking senior day for the four Saint Leo softball student-athletes. Tuesday’s single game starts at 7:00 pm with the doubleheader on Wednesday beginning at 6:00 pm.