SAINT LEO, Fla. – Riding the back of a three-hit, six RBI performance from sophomore Brittany Yates, the Saint Leo softball team (6-8) swept the Lewis University Flyers in non-conference, doubleheader play from University Field Friday evening. SLU slugged their way to an 8-5 game one victory, before battling back from a 4-1 deficit to secure the game two win, 5-4.
Yates went 3-for-6 on the evening with two doubles and three runs scored. She also connected on her second home run of the season. Ana Castillo also had a fantastic night at the plate going 4-for-7 with a pair of runs scored. Dianne Gonzalez added her name to the hit club, as she went 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Amber Martyn went 3-for-6 with two RBI, while Tiffinee Harvey scored three times and was 3-for-7 from the dish. Katie Gwinn crushed the first home run of her collegiate career and Elysha Agen collected two hits and three runs scored. Sarah Boyd was 3-for-7 from the plate and finished her night with the game-winning RBI single in game two.
As a team, the Lions had 24 total hits and had six players register three or more knocks. The squad hit .421 on the night and pounded-out 10 extra-base hits.
In game one, the Lions faced an early 2-0 deficit as two Flyer hits and one Lions’ error brought home two runs. Offensively however, these Lions did not lie down, surging back in the bottom of the first for three runs. Doubles by Agen and Harvey platted the first run. The Lions second pair of doubles in the inning tied the ball game up as Yates and Martyn produced two of the Lions eight doubles on the evening. With the tie game, Danielle Moreda followed by sending a shot up the middle scoring the Lions’ third run.
The suddenly powerful Saint Leo offense extended their 3-2 lead with four runs in the bottom of the second. After Gonzalez and Castillo led the inning off with a double and a single, Yates drilled SLU’s sixth double of the game to leftfield driving home two. Harvey later scored on a sacrifice fly and Martyn made the score 7-2 with an RBI single scoring Yates from third.
Lewis did not go away quietly, however, as a homerun and a pair of RBI singles cut the lead to two, 7-5.
Soon, the pitching on both sides settled down as the Lions combo of Jaime Walker and Kristen Kelly began to trade zeroes with their Lewis counterpart, Diana Pickrum. Between innings three and six, the two teams combined for just three hits.
In the Lions’ sixth, Saint Leo added their eighth and final run of the contest on a sacrifice fly from Yates. Kelly closed the door on Lewis in the seventh, preserving the three-run win.
Walker picked up the victory, improving to 2-2 this season. She tossed 4.0 innings, scattering eight hits and allowing one earned run. Kelly came in to close the contest, picking up the first save of her career. She threw 3.0 innings of work allowing one hit and no runs scored.
In game two, Saint Leo was forced into an early deficit for the second consecutive game. The Flyer’s came out swinging, stringing together five hits for two runs in the top of the first. Saint Leo answered in the third, cutting the lead in half on Katie Gwinn’s first collegiate home run.
Lewis continued to make things difficult on the Lions brass, tacking another two runs onto their 2-1 lead to give them a three-run lead going into the bottom of the fourth inning.
However, the Lions used three hits in the frame to dwindle the lead back to one. Following a Harvey single, Yates, with one fell swoop, sent her second home run of the season over the right field fence to make the score 4-3.
As SLU pitching continued to cool the Lewis’ bats, the Lions struck again in the fifth inning, as Castillo’s RBI single knotted the game at four. After a scoreless sixth, Saint Leo found themselves with last ups and the top of the order batting in the pivotal seventh. Castillo and Harvey connected on back-to-back hits. With one out, Yates was intentionally walked to load the bases brining Sarah Boyd to the plate. After pushing the count into a favorable hitter’s count, Boyd sent a 2-1 delivery right back up the middle for the game-winning RBI single.
In the game, Whidden scattered 15 hits over 7.0 innings to secure her fifth win of the season.
The Lions return to University Field on Sunday, February 28 when they square-off against Dominican College in a non-conference doubleheader. First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.