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St. Leo Routes Cougars 7-1
Clearwater traveled to St. Leo University for the first match up between these two teams since 2012. The Lions entered the game 6-2 and were coming off a 9-5 victory against Florida Southern earlier in the week. The Cougars were looking to bounce back from the 3-2 walk off loss against Webber International University.
Junior Will Kirby (1-2) had the ball for the Cougars on Friday night at Southard Stadium and lasted 5 2/3 innings. He gave up one run in the bottom of the first as the Lions second baseman Nick Perez, who finished 3-5 with two runs scored, was plated on a fielder's choice off the bat of third baseman Dylan Harris, giving St. Leo an early 1-0 lead.
Clearwater had a chance to even the score in the top of the third, after freshman Justin Holmes singled to start the inning. Holmes entered the game in the bottom of the first, replacing freshman Trevor Lancaster, who left the game due to injury after diving for a ball in the Cougars bullpen and hitting the wall located in foul territory. Holmes advanced to second on a throwing error from the Lions starting pitcher Brent Krauss on a pick off attempt. With Holmes at second and no outs, the Cougars couldn't advance him to third on a sacrifice bunt attempt. After two pop ups to the infield and a ground out, Krauss worked out of the jam.
The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the fifth when St. Leo's designated hitter Jordan Taylor hit a three run home run over the right field wall, extending their lead to 4-0. Taylor's two out home run scored first baseman Fran Whitten, who reached base after being hit by a pitch, and center fielder Cole Stancil, who singled in the inning.
St. Leo added another run in the sixth after left fielder Kevin Games scored on a passed ball. Kirby exited the game with two outs in the fifth and turned the ball over to senior Kyle Baitz for a lefty-lefty matchup, and Baitz induced a pop up on the first pitch to end the inning.
The Lions tacked on another run in the seventh after right fielder Bobby Twitty hit an RBI double and then again in the eighth on a RBI double from pinch hitter Michael Callahan, giving St. Leo a 7-0 lead.
The maroon and black scored their lone run of the game in the top of the ninth after sophomore Jake Reidy knocked in senior Joel Felten on a dropped fly ball with two outs, making it 7-1, which remained as the final score.
J. Reidy finished 2-4 with an RBI, reaching base three times. Holmes had the only other hit for the Cougars, finishing 1-3.
Kirby's line finished with 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs, four earned, giving up seven hits, walking four, and striking out five. Krauss picked up his first win of the season in his first start since last April for St. Leo after throwing five shutout innings, yielding two hits, walking none, and striking out four.
The loss drops Clearwater to 3-8 overall and St. Leo improves to 7-2 overall.
The Saturday doubleheader against Edward Waters College has been cancelled due to a heavy amount of rain in the Jacksonville area. The Cougars will be back in action for the end of their road stretch on Tuesday night at Webber International University before beginning a twelve game home stand next Friday night. Tuesday's game is scheduled for 7:00pm at Heart of Florida Field on WIU's campus.
NOTES: Holmes collected his first collegiate hit...J. Reidy's two hits is his first multi-hit performance this season...St. Leo is currently hitting .307 as a team and are now 3-0 at home...Clearwater's pitching staff is holding a combined 2.81 ERA over 86 1/3 innings...Cougars are averaging 2.00 runs per game...Baitz made his 60th appearance of his career on the mound.
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