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Lions Rally in Eighth to Beat Florida Tech

Jacob Buser – Sports Lowdown photo

The Saint Leo Lions earned their 30th win of the season on Friday, coming from behind to beat Florida Tech 3-1 in the series opener at Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field.

Panthers starter Ty Cohen (4-4) pitched seven masterful innings, keeping the visitors off the board until that fateful eighth that saw the Lions score one run on an error and the decisive runs on a Jared Morello two-run double.

Cohen struck out two batters in the top of the second, showing good stuff early. The Panthers rewarded him with a run in the bottom of the inning. A Zac Orchard single was followed by a Jakob Newton single, part of his 3-for-4 day, putting runners at the corners.

Raul Quintero put down a sac bunt that was fielded by Lions starter Jordan Pendleton but was in the right spot to get Newton home and give the home team a 1-0 lead. An error got Newton to third moments later, but he was left stranded there.

Cohen struck out two more in the third and got a double play behind him in the fourth. He did allow a double in the seventh to Chase Turner, but Morello was thrown out trying to score on a great throw from Orchard in center. He hit the cutoff man in Rodnie Bernard, who threw a strike to Ryan Sinzenich at the plate, preserving the Panthers 1-0 lead.

Lane Stancil started the eighth inning rally when he singled with one out. Derek Gibree singled one out later and a single and an error allowed Amir Wright to reach and Stancil to score the tying run. Morello then doubled driving in two and giving Saint Leo a 3-1 lead.

After an intentional walk, Cohen was able to get out of the inning. His day would end after giving up three runs (one earned) on eight hits. He struck out seven and walked only one.

Drew Tumbelty took over for Pendleton in the Panthers half of the eighth and Jacob Buser took him deep right out of the gate, closing the gap to 3-2. Tumbelty would bounce back to strike out the next two batters.

Matt Coles pitched to one batter in the ninth and Matt DiNenna gave up one hit but got a double play behind him to end the frame.

Florida Tech (14-25, 6-13) rallied in the bottom of the inning. Quintero walked and went to second on a wild pitch from reliever Tumbelty. Closer Peyton Isaacson got the call out of the bullpen and after Vincenzo Catanza flied out, Quintero was successful in a very gutsy steal of third. Unfortunately, a strikeout and a groundout would leave the tying run right there and give Isaacson his 11th save.

For more info: Saint Leo @ Florida Tech Box Score

The series continues Saturday when these two teams meet in a 3:00 p.m. game.