SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo University softball team (4-2) eneded their home opener in a sweep of the visiting Lindenwood Lions (0-2), Wednesday evening from University Stadium. The doubleheader featured a seven–inning game in which Saint Leo defeated Lindenwood by a score of 6-1, just before Saint Leo defeated the visiting Lions 10-0 in five innings.
The Saint Leo Lions warmed up some previously cold bats as the home team collected 19 hits on the evening and stole a grand total of eight bases. In addition, Saint Leo's pitching staff only allowed six hits on the day.
In the first game of the evening, senior Megan Still collected her second win of the year after tossing a complete one-run game against the visiting Lindenwood Lions. Still struck out ten batters and walked only one in her second start of the year, allowing only four hits and one earned run in seven innings of work.
On the offensive side, the Saint Leo Lions jumped on their opponents in the first inning, scoring two runs off of a double by junior Brittany Ewing and giving pitcher Megan Still some cushion to work with. The next run came in the third inning when junior Kylee Hardesty ripped an infield single that allowed senior Rachelle Gremo to slide safely into home. One inning later, Saint Leo tacked on another run when freshman Jessica LoBianco sent a groundball through the infield for her first career hit, sending sophomore McKenzie Burns home.
Lindenwood's only run of the day came in the top of the sixth inning, when a double by sophomore Hannah Braun sent home teammate Courtney Kitson. In the bottom of the sixth inning, however, the Saint Leo Lions added two more runs to the scoreboard when sophomore Torrie Weindorf and LoBianco slid safely into home plate on back to back plays.
After defeating the visiting Lions in seven innings, Saint Leo decided that the next game would have to be played in only five, and they defeated the visiting team by the eight-run rule.
Freshman Alana Tabel got the start for the Saint Leo Lions, going three innings and allowing only two hits. Improving her record to 2-1 on the year, Tabel tallied four strikeouts in the home opener. Sophomore Ashley Ehlers pitched the bottom of the fourth inning for the home team, striking out two of her three batters faced.
The bats also came alive during the second game of the doubleheader, as the Saint Leo Lions scored more than one run in three of the four innings in which they batted.
The first three runs of the game came early in the bottom of the first inning, when a base-clearing triple by Ewing scored Chelsea Steedley, Jessica LoBianco, and McKenzie Burns all in one swing.
In the bottom of the third inning, the home team tacked on 2 more runs for security purposes. With the bases loaded, Steedley was hit by a pitch, allowing sophomore Kelsey LaNeave to come home and score her first run of the year. Two batters later, Ewing blasted a single to centerfield, scoring Burns yet again.
The majority of Saint Leo's runs came in the bottom of the third inning, when a string of three hits and one Lindenwood error allowed Emily Holman, McKenzie Burns, Kelsey LaNeave, Rachelle Gremo, and Chelsea Steedley to cross the plate. Holman, LaNeave, and Ewing all registered hits in the inning.
The Saint Leo Lions will return to action on Friday, Feb. 8th when they head to Clearwater, Fla. to participate in the Eckerd Tournament, hosted by Sunshine State Conference Rival, Eckerd College. The weekend, which will feature five games in just three days, is set to begin at 5:30 p.m. when the Lions take the field against Columbus State.
For more info on the Lions' softball program, be sure to visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also, make sure to 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' the Lions on Twitter and Instagram.