SAINT LEO, Fla. - The Saint Leo softball team is riding high on a three-game win streak as they travel to Miami Shores, Fla. for a Sunshine State Conference series against Barry University Buccaneers. Game one is set for Friday at 6:00 p.m. and the following doubleheader is scheduled for Saturday at 1:00 p.m. All three contests will be broadcast live on the Saint Leo Lions AudioCast Network.
The Lions head into action with a 4-2 SSC mark and are currently tied with Tampa for the third spot. Nova Southeastern sits at 5-1 and Rollins is second with a record of 2-1. Barry is 3-3 and is one spot back of SLU and Tampa.
Leading the offensive charge is a pair of .300 hitters in Tiffinee Harvey and Elysha Agen. Harvey is batting .366 with 16 doubles, six home runs and 25 RBI. Agen comes in hitting at .364 clip collecting a team-high 43 hits, including 13 doubles. Brittany Yates and her team-leading 10 home runs and 31 RBI is third on the squad in hitting at .290, while Sarah Boyd is throwing her name into the hat as one of the Lions top hitters, belting six home runs and driving in 24 runs.
During the three-game winning streak, Dianne Gonzalez has led the team with a .429 batting average. She recently connected on her first triple on the season and is bringing life to the bottom half of the Lions order. Ana Castillo is also coming through in the clutch for the Green & Gold, posting a .375 batting average over her last three games.
Ashton Whidden continues to throw with confidence this season and enters the crucial SSC series with an 11-7 record and sporting a 2.74 ERA. She had picked-up 59 strikeouts and thrown 12 complete games in 118.1 innings pitched. Jaime Walker has become a solid No. 2 starter behind Whidden and holds a 5-5 record in 66.1 innings thrown. She has allowed just nine walks and struck out 24 batters. The pair went a combined 3-0 over the final three games of the week, and allowed one earned run in 21.0 innings.
As a team, the Lions are batting .264. The squad is also being outscored 155-145, with 50 of those runs coming in the first and fifth innings. Saint Leo has done the majority of its offensive damage in the first and fourth innings, where they have scored 56 runs. A trio of Lions continue to race towards the record book as Agen, Harvey, and Yates all have opportunities at breaking single season and career records. Harvey and Agen are chasing down the single-season doubles mark of 21, while Yates has the all-time home run mark in her sights. Currently, Harvey stands six off the pace of breaking the record and Agen is nine short. Yates is still 10 home runs shy of the all-time mark of 33 set in 2009.
The Lions are seeking a bit of revenge over the Buccaneers, as they are 1-8 against their rivals from the south over their last nine contests. However, the Lions last game with the Buccaneers was one of the most memorable contests in Saint Leo softball history. Down 5-0 in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Lions strung together five hits and six runs to complete the miraculous comeback. Ashley Urbanik capped the game with a game-winning three-run blast. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Bucs.
Barry enters the series 21-13 overall and has sole possession of the fifth spot in the SSC. However, the impressive start has been slowed as of late having dropped seven of their last 11 games.
Still, the team is doing its job offensively as they are hitting a combined .318. Grace Collins leads the way with a .378 average and is one of eight .300+ hitters. Jessica Tabor is the Bucs power hitter totaling five home runs and eight doubles, while driving in 25 runs. Kayla Monroy is hitting at a .362 clip through 18 games and Cassy Zamora is hitting .339 for the year. Brianna Smith, Amanda Goelz, and Sarah Broeseker are also compiling impressive offensive campaigns.
In the circle, the Bucs are led by Brianna Smith and her 1.56 ERA. She has compiled a 7-3 record and 95 strikeouts. She has surrendered 16 earned runs over 72.0 innings pitched. Paula Macklin is also pulling her end of the load having tossed in 101.1 innings. She has amassed 102 strikeouts, but has allowed 48 totals runs over that time span. Jessica Bevlin has also seen time in the circle, throwing in 56.1 innings and totaling a 2.98 ERA. Teams are batting .221 against Bucs’ pitching in 2010.