Defeat the Panthers, 5-4, in eight innings in game one; Drop game two 7-6
SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Saint Leo University softball team split its Saturday doubleheader with Florida Tech winning the first game, 5-4 in eight innings and dropping game two, 7-6.
Despite the loss, the Lions took the series from the Panthers 2-1. It marks the second straight series victory for Saint Leo. The Lions defeated Florida Tech in game one on Friday night, 2-1.
Saint Leo is now 22-13 on the year and 4-5 in Sunshine State Conference play.
In game one, the Panthers jumped out to a 1-0 lead when they took advantage of a lead-off walk by Elaine Brown. Brown would eventually advance to third on a passed ball, and then steal home to give Florida Tech a one-run edge.
The Lions then answered back in the bottom of the first inning when Adriana Sanders singled to second base. After a Brittany Ewing walk, Sarah Steiner doubled to centerfield, driving in Sanders and Ewing, and giving Saint Leo a 2-1 lead.
In the top of the third inning, the Panthers' Ashley Montion singled to leftfield to lead off the inning. Audrey Gangloff – who pinch ran for Montion – would advance to third on a sacrifice bunt and a put out at first. Kelsey Donahue then evened the game at two with a single up the middle to drive in Gangloff.
Once again, the Lions answered the call with two runs in the bottom of the third to take the lead back. Sanders led off the inning with a single to centerfield and then Ewing tripled to right centerfield driving in Sanders. Chelsey Steedley singled to leftfield to bring Ewing across the plate.
Florida Tech tied the game, once again, this time at 4-4 in the top of the fifth inning, when Brown drove in Elizabeth Eby, who walked to lead off the inning, with a sacrifice fly to leftfield. Donahue then drove in Montion who doubled earlier in the inning.
Saint Leo couldn't take advantage in the bottom of the sixth inning leaving two runners on second and third when the inning ended.
The Panthers left one on in the top of the seventh, and the Lions went three-up-and-three-down to end the seventh inning.
In the Florida Tech eighth, the Panthers couldn't get anything going recording only one hit, and leaving one on in the top half of the inning.
The Lions however took care of business in the bottom of the frame. Despite two quick outs to start the inning, Cassie Boggs would get on base with a walk. After Jessica LoBianco was put in to pinch run for Boggs, Angela Kafalas didn't waste any time doubling to centerfield and driving in LoBianco for the win on the first pitch she faced.
Steiner finished the game going 2-for-4 with two RBI and a double and Sanders was 2-for-3 and scored two runs.
Ashley Ehlers got the win for the Lions improving to 8-2 on the year. She would go 3.1 inning giving up three hits and striking out two. She didn't allow any runs.
In game two, the majority of the scoring came in the third inning.
Florida Tech put up five runs in the top of the third, however, Saint Leo's resiliency carried over from the first game. The Lions quickly cut the Panthers' lead to one, 5-4, as they responded in the bottom of the inning. Saint Leo took advantage of two errors by Florida Tech and scored their four runs on four hits in the inning. Steedley would lead the four-run attack with a two-run triple to right centerfield.
Steiner would then tie the game at 5-5 when she doubled to leftfield and drove in Ewing who led off the inning with a walk. The Lions, however, would not be able to take advantage leaving two runners on at the end of the inning.
The Panthers then took the lead for good, 7-5, in the top of the sixth with two runs. Saint Leo would get one run in the bottom of the seventh, but Florida Tech closed the Lions out in the end.
After getting the win in game one, Ehlers would be saddled with the loss in game two, going 4.1 innings, giving up four hits and striking out one. She finished the day with an 8-3 record on the year.
Steiner was 1-for-4 in game two with a double and three RBI. Sanders was 2-for-4 with a triple and scored two runs, and Steedley was 2-for-3 with a double, a triple, two RBI and one run scored.
The Lions will hit the diamond again on March 28-29 when they travel to Rollins College for a three game series. Saint Leo won't return home until April 11-12 when it takes on Lynn University at University Softball Stadium.
For more on the Saint Leo University softball team visit SaintLeoLions.com. Also be sure 'Like' the Lions on Facebook and 'Follow' the Lions on Twitter and Instagram.