SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo softball team (22-28, 9-12 SSC), behind the outstanding efforts from senior Tiffinee Harvey and Ashton Whidden, completed the three-game sweep of the Florida Tech Panthers (21-27, 8-16 SSC), in SSC doubleheader action from University Field Sunday afternoon. The Lions overturned an early 4-0 deficit to win 5-4 in game one, before Whidden quieted the Panthers’ bats in game two to pick up the 3-1 win.
Harvey compiled four hits in five at-bats on senior day, connecting on her 10th home run of the season, as well as her record tying 21st double. Elysha Agen also had a fantastic day at the plate, going 4-for-7 with two doubles and an RBI. Both Brittany Yates and Alex Garris added to the Lions hit total with two apiece. Yates blasted her team-leading 12th home run over the leftfield, and drove in a day-best three runs. Danielle Moreda also made an impact at the plate, collecting a double and a run scored, while Jaime Walker went 1-for-2 with an RBI.
The Lions spotted the Panthers four runs in the first inning of game one. Florida Tech used six hits and one Lions’ fielding miscue to do much of their damage. However, the Lions began to chip away at the Panthers’ lead in the bottom of the frame. After Harvey moved Ana Castillo over to third on a double, Yates sent a fly ball to centerfield scoring Castillo to make the score 4-1.
The Lions continued to shrink the lead in the bottom of the second when Agen picked up a timely hit, roping an RBI single up the middle to plate Moreda from second base. The Lions bats continued to heat up in the third, as the powerful duo of Harvey and Yates linked together back-to-back home runs to tie the game at four apiece. The two have combined for 22 home runs this year.
The Lions comeback was made complete in the bottom of the fifth as Harvey, who led the inning off with a single, came around to score on a throwing error by the Panthers’ third baseman.
Whidden made the lead stand as her incredible relief appearance allowed SLU the opportunity to get back into the contest. She pitched 6.2 innings of scoreless ball, struck out one batter and kept Florida Tech hitters off balance all afternoon. The win pushed her to 15-13 on the season.
The momentum from the Lions come-from-behind victory triggered an aggressive Lions’ bunch in game two. Despite allowing the Panthers to jump on the board first, Saint Leo, as they have all series, answered the call with a run of their own in the bottom of the second. Down 1-0, the Lions used a bit of one-out magic to tie the game up. A Dianne Gonzalez walk, coupled with an error, allowed Walker the chance to come up with the big hit. She did just that as she sent an RBI sinlge up the middle to score Moreda from third.
After two innings of scoreless ball, SLU grabbed the lead for good when Yates, with the bases loaded, grounded out to score Garris from third.
An insurance run was tacked on an inning later when Katie Gwinn scored on a wild pitch.
Whidden (16-13) made the two-run advantage stand up, as she allowed just one run (none earned) in the complete game victory. She scattered eight hits and struck out one batter in her 20th complete game of the season.
The Lions will wrap-up the 2010 regular season next Tuesday and Wednesday from Winter Park, Fla. The Lions will travel to take on the No. 10-ranked Rollins College Tars in SSC action. First game is set for Tuesday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. with a doubleheader to follow on Wednesday.