COLUMBUS, Ga. – The final day of the PBC-SSC Challenge ended in another two-game split for the Saint Leo softball team (2-2) at S. Commons Complex in Columbus, Ga. In the effort, the Lions defeated UNC-Pembroke (1-2) by a score of 2-1, just before they fell to undefeated Armstrong Atlantic (4-0) by a score of 2-0.
The main struggle for the Lions came at the plate, as Saint Leo only totaled seven hits on the day. In comparison, opposing teams registered 13 hits. The Lions tore up the base paths, however, collecting seven stolen bases on the afternoon compared to just one by Armstrong Atlantic.
In the first game of the day, Saint Leo senior Megan Still collected her first win of the season after hurling a complete game shutout against the UNC-Pembroke Braves. Still struck out eight and walked none in her first start of 2013, while allowing only one earned run.
The Braves scored early on in the contest, with their first and only run coming in the first inning after junior Taylor Cloninger scored on a single up the middle from senior Holly Berry. The Lions did not answer back offensively until the bottom of the 6th inning, when they were finally able to string a few hits together thanks to a few of Saint Leo's junior-transfers. The first run came when Chelsey Steedley and Sarah Steiner executed a double steal which caused Braves' catcher Brea Hartley to commit a throwing error, and allowed Steedley to advance home. Two batters later, Kylee Hardesty singled to right field, allowing pinch runner Victoria Obermeier to score the Lions' winning run. The win signaled Saint Leo's first comeback win of the 2013 season.
The Lions' second loss of the year came shortly after their second win, as Saint Leo struggled to put the ball in play against the undefeated Armstrong Atlantic Pirates. After two full innings of scoreless softball, the Pirates' sophomore Alexis Mercer blasted a two-run homer over the centerfield fence to put Armstrong Atlantic ahead. Although both teams collected a few more hits during the game, neither team was able to score beyond the third inning.
Just one day after her first win as a Lion, freshman Alana Tabel collected her first career loss donning the green and gold as the Pirates took home the win. Tabel tallied one strikeout in the effort while allowing five hits, one walk, and two earned runs in 4.1 innings pitched. Sophomore Ashley Ehlers (1.2 innings) and junior Sarah Steiner (1 inning) also took the mound for the Lions in the loss.
The Saint Leo Lions will take the field again on Wednesday, Feb. 6th in their home opener against the visiting Lindenwood Lions from University Softball Stadium. The first pitch of the doubleheader is set for 6:00 p.m.