SAINT LEO, Fla. – The Purdue University Northwest baseball team was unable to hold on to an early lead as the Pride suffered a setback against Saint Leo, 8-6, Tuesday.
Saint Leo was able to strike first in the bottom of the first inning with a couple of runs to go ahead 2-0. PNW was able to cut the lead in half in the second inning after sophomore Kevin McCune (Munster, Ind./Andrean) ripped a single scoring sophomore Hunter Thorn (Portage, Ind./Portage).
The Pride busted through in the third inning with five runs. Junior Anthony Agne (Plainfield, Ill./Plainfield North/Joliet JC) hit a single that scored Hunter Ryan (Hebron, Ind./Hebron/Indiana Wesleyan) from second to tie the game up.
Freshman Ray Hilbrich (Schererville, Ind./Lake Central) singled which moved Ryan to second base. After both runners moved up on a wild pitch, freshman Brett Veltema (Jenison, Mich./Jenison/Muskegon CC) singled to left field which scored Hilbrich and Veltema to make 4-2.
Thorn was behind in the count 1-2 but then he smacked his first home run of the season over the left field fence to make it 6-2 in the third inning. The Pride had other chances to score in the inning but their chance was squandered and that was the last time PNW scored.
The Lions did not go away as they answered with three runs in the bottom of the third inning as the Pride were still ahead 6-5. Saint Leo had another big inning in the fourth, scoring three more to take the 8-6 lead.
Sophomore Kyle Freel (Dyer, Ind./Lake Central) picked up the loss for the Pride (0-2) after throwing 3.1 innings, scattering eight hits, allowing eight runs (six earned), issued two walks and striking out two.
Both teams were scoreless the rest of the way with lights-out relief pitching and getting out of jams. Senior Jade Doyle (Greenwood, Ind./Central Grove/Ancilla CC) threw three dominant innings of relief for the Pride, allowed two hits, issued one walk and struck out three.
Junior Caden Bell (Hammond, Ind./HAST) pitched the rest of the way for PNW, throwing 1.2 innings, did not allow a hit, issued a walk and struck out one. The Pride left nine runners on base including five in the final two innings.
PNW returns to action Wednesday, March 13 as the Pride travel to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical to take on the Eagles for a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m. CT.