February 16, 2013

Grand-Slam Lifts Saint Leo Past Visiting Pittsburg State

SAINT LEO, Fla. – In the second game of the Saint Leo Invitational Tournament, the Saint Leo softball team (8-5) snagged a 6-5 win over the visiting Pittsburg State Gorillas (1-1), Saturday night from University Stadium. The win signaled the Lions' fifth one-run ballgame this season. 

With Saint Leo utilizing three of their four pitchers in the contest, the outcome of the game fell into the hands of the Lions' offense, who took on the challenge headfirst.

After a scoreless first inning, it was the Gorillas who scored first, thanks to back-to-back doubles by Riley Campbell and Devon McCreath, which allowed Pittsburgh State to tack on two runs in the top of the second inning.

The Lions answered back in the bottom of the second, when a single from Brittany Ewing gave Saint Leo some speed on the bases. With two outs on the board, sophomore Kelsey LaNeave stepped to the plate and blasted a single to centerfield, allowing Ewing to score.

With the score 2-1 in favor of Pittsburg State, singles from Cheslyn Mitchell, Tiffany Brown, and Kayla Sears allowed the Gorillas to plate another run in the top of the third inning, putting the score at 3-1. 

Neither team scored again until the fifth, when Pittsburg State's Tiffany Brown sent a homerun over the left-field fence for the Gorilla's only run of the inning. The bottom of the inning, however featured three Saint Leo walks to load the bases, and a grand-slam homerun from junior Sarah Steiner to plate four runs and take the lead, 5-4.

The sixth inning was scoreless for both teams, but in the top of the seventh, the Gorillas were able to plate another run in the form of Tiffany Brown. To start off the inning for Pittsburg State, Brown singled up the middle and advanced to second base on a wild pitch. After stealing third, the Gorillas' Katelyn Birchfield sent a high fly-ball to right field, and Brown was able to force an error from the Lions' catcher and take home plate to tie the game at 5-5.

Faced with the possibility of an extra-inning game, the Lions were able to take advantage of free bases in the bottom of the seventh. With one out, McKenzie Burns and Jessica LoBianco walked to put two runners on base. The next batter, Chelsey Steedley, then took her free base after being hit by a pitch from the Gorillas' pitcher, Samantha Grove. With the bases loaded, Sarah Steiner stepped to the plate and hit a choppy infield single that allowed Burns to score and the Lions to win.

In total, the Lions' offense collected seven hits, six walks, and two stolen bases on the evening. Saint Leo's pitching staff, which featured appearances by Megan Still, Ashley Ehlers, and Alana Tabel, allowed eight hits and five earned runs, while striking out five.

The Lions return to action tomorrow for the last day of the Saint Leo Invitational when they take on Northwood University at 9:00 a.m. and Tarleton State at 11:15 a.m. 

For more information regarding the Lions softball program, be sure to visit Saintleolions.com. Also, make sure to 'Follow' the Lions on Twitter and Instagram and 'Like' the Lions on Facebook.