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Saint Leo off to 3-0 start in conference softball

Published Sep. 27, 2005

The Lions are now 21-7 and have five consecutive victories including a doubleheader sweep of Molloy.

The Sunshine State Conference softball schedule has been favorable to Saint Leo University early this season. Or the Lions have just been unfavorable to their SSC opponents. It depends on how you look at it.

Either way, Saint Leo racked up three consecutive wins last weekend to open its SSC schedule.

Together with a sweep of Molloy College on Thursday night, it adds up to five consecutive victories over a four-day span for the Lions (21-7).

Visiting Rollins was the first victim on Saturday, losing 1-0 in eight innings and 4-2.

Florida Tech fell 3-1 Sunday but rain postponed the second half of that day's doubleheader in Melbourne. That second game has been rescheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday at Florida Tech.

With the bases loaded in Saturday's opener, Jessica McKenzie walked to score Sabrina Price in the eighth. Desiree Croteau earned her 12th win of the season, striking out 12 and allowing just three hits while going the distance. Offensively, Amanda Sluga went 2-for-3.

In the second game, Saint Leo overcame a 2-0 deficit. Lacey Hardesty singled in a run in the fourth and Croteau singled in another in the fifth to tie it.

In the bottom of the sixth, Jacquelyn Brown hit a run-scoring single and Price brought in a run with a sacrifice fly. It was Hardesty's seventh win of the season. She gave up one run and four hits.

Against Florida Tech, the Lions' Holly Hutchinson was 2-for-3 and had an RBI. Croteau earned another victory, striking out three. She allowed one run and five hits. Jennifer Shirley and Hardesty also drove in runs.

TOP OF THE ORDER: Three Lions are batting more than .300 this season: Croteau (a team-leading .364), Price (.333) and Brown (.308). Jaime Martin is close with a .297 average and leads the team with 22 runs scored. Shirley is the team RBI leader with 15.

MORE SSC ACTION: Florida Southern will visit Saint Leo for another doubleheader Wednesday at 6 p.m. Then comes Thursday's SSC makeup game at Florida Tech in Melbourne. On Saturday, Saint Leo travels to Barry in Miami for a SSC doubleheader that begins at 1 p.m., and heads to Lynn Sunday in Boca Raton for another conference doubleheader, also at 1.

HALL OF FAME ADDITIONS: The Saint Leo Hall of Fame received four new members Thursday night: coach and administrator John Swart, softball standout Alice Astling (Class of '94), soccer standout Sam Koleduk ('94), and volleyball standout Vicki Herma ('89).

TIME TO GET AWAY: The Lions women's tennis team (3-9) gets a break this week and won't compete again until March 27 against visiting Delaware at 2:30 p.m.

Saint Leo's three-match win streak was snapped by national power Lynn last weekend. In the 7-2 loss, the Lions' only points came from defaults in the No. 4 and No. 5 matches.

Otherwise, Saint Leo had a nice streak going. In a 5-4 win over St. Cloud State last Monday, Stephanie Harris, Kathleen Houstma and Britt Patriarche won their singles matches and the doubles tandems of Houstma and Shelby Jordan and Harris and Patriarche won. On Friday, it was St. Thomas that fell 6-1 as Houstma, Jordan and Patriarche earned singles victories.

FOUR IS A LONELY NUMBER: Saint Leo's men's tennis team dropped four matches last week to continue the Lions' slide to a 1-13 record.

Last Monday, it was an 8-1 loss to Averett. Felipe Esteves and Taylor Lawson scored the Lions' lone point in doubles. An SSC loss followed on Tuesday, as Florida Southern College swept Saint Leo 9-0. St. Thomas handed the Lions an 8-1 loss Friday at Miami, with Esteves again earning the lone point in singles.

A 7-2 loss to Lynn finished off Saint Leo's difficult week. The Lions won the last two singles seeds by default.

Saint Leo hosts Towson of Maryland today and Binghamton of New York on Friday. Both matches being at 2:30 p.m.