After winning Thursday’s series opener, Florida Tech lost two tough games on Saturday as Saint Leo took both ends of a doubleheader, 10-8, and 10-6. Brett Parrish was the Panthers leading hitter, going 3-for-4 in game one with two runs scored and two driven in, and 2-for-4 with a run scored in game two.
Things started well for the Panthers in game one with a two-run homer from Jacob Buser in the first inning, against Lions starter Shane Haight. The long ball scored James Gronberg, who singled with one out.
Saint Leo got a run in both the first and second innings against Panthers starter Colin Cristello, tying the game 2-2. Blaise Maris doubled in the third and came home on a single by Parrish, making it 3-2. Parrish would come home on a Vinny Catanza single, doubling the Panthers lead.
As they did all day, the Lions fought back, getting a run in the bottom of the third and they would take the lead in the bottom of the fourth, thanks to an RBI double by Amir Wright and Brett Coffel’s RBI single, giving the Lions a 5-4 lead.
Florida Tech fought back in the top of the fifth when Parrish doubled and later scored on a groundout by Catanza, tying the game at five. They would regain the lead when Pedro Rivera knocked in Raul Quintero with a single.
Cristello got through the fifth, before giving way to Matt DiNenna in the sixth. Cristello allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits. He walked two and struck out four, throwing 103 pitches (64 strikes).
Florida Tech would widen their lead in the sixth on consecutive RBI singles by Parrish and Quintero to make it 8-5. A double by Coffel and a groundout by Mike Wyman in the sixth closed the gap to 8-7.
DiNenna was blindsided to start the eighth, as the Lions got back-to-back jacks from Peyton Isaacson and Coffel, and just like that it was 9-8 in favor of the home team. Jake Lane came in for the Panthers following the homers. He would allow another run, before getting out of the inning.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Saint Leo Box Score (Game 1)
As they did in game one, the Panthers started game two with the long ball. Rodnie Bernard reached on an error to start the game and Gronberg drew a walk. One out later, Blaise Maris rocked the first pitch he saw from Saint Leo starter Ryan Nolan over the wall in left-center, giving his team a quick 3-0 lead.
Saint Leo (20-21, 9-12 SSC) started clawing back immediately, with a run in the first against Panthers starter Rhett Willis. Matt Morgan’s single in the second made it 3-2, and a single by Wright chased Morgan home with the tying run.
A two-run single by Isaacson in the fourth gave the Lions a 5-3 lead. One of the runs was unearned for Willis as Morgan reached on an error to start the frame, but that was the end of the day for the Panthers hurler, as Justin Barney was called on to get the final two outs of the inning.
Willis allowed five runs (four earned) on nine hits, walking one and did not strike out a batter. Willis threw 73 pitches, 42 for strikes.
After a Morgan homer gave the Lions a 6-3 lead in the fifth, the Panthers fought back again in the sixth. Jakob Newton doubled and came home on a Bernard groundout. One out later, Buser singled home Newton, cutting the deficit to one.
Florida Tech (22-17, 11-10 SSC) would tie things up in the seventh on Rivera’s successful sacrifice bunt. Unfortunately for the Panthers, Barney (1-1) struggled in the bottom of the frame, allowing an RBI single to Danny Torres and a big double to Derek Gibree, making it an 8-6 game.
Barney got through 3.1 innings before he was lifted in favor of Jake Lane. Barney allowed four hits and three runs, walking one and striking out six. He threw 46 pitches.
Saint Leo got their final two runs in the eighth inning, thanks to two wild pitches by Barney.
For more info: Florida Tech @ Saint Leo Box Score (Game 2)
The Panthers will look to get back on the winning track Monday when they host Barry in a non-conference contest at Andy Seminick-Les Hall Field. First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.