Late Comeback and Perseverance Lead PBA Softball to Split with Saint Leo

Written By: Michael Brown, Assistant A.D. for Communications

Box Score

SAINT LEO, Fla.- Sunday proved to be an eventful day for the Palm Beach Atlantic University softball team. Despite sustaining a number of key injuries during their two-day stay in Saint Leo, Florida for a pair of double-headers versus St. Thomas University and Saint Leo University, the Fish still managed to come away with a pair of wins in splitting the two double-headers.

Sunday’s double-dip saw the Sailfish (4-2) post a three-run comeback in the top of the seventh inning to force extra innings where they eventually knocked off the Lions (3-1) in an exhausting 12 innings by a 5-4 final score.  After what can only be described as a marathon effort by both teams, the Lions proved to be the better squad in game two as they utilized a big first inning on their way to an 8-4 win.

The victory although exciting didn’t come without a cost however as a number of PBA players had to exit or be slowed by injuries.

Game One

Logging all 12 innings inside the pitching circle for PBA, newcomer Mary Pippin appeared to get stronger the longer the game would go.

Pippin would allow two runs in the third inning as Alex Garris delivered an RBI single followed by another run coming in to score on a passed ball.

The Fish would cut the lead in half at 2-1 when senior catcher Erica Walters would come home following an error on a ball hit by Kimberly Traxler.

The Lions would take advantage of a PBA error to extend their lead to 3-1 in the fifth followed by an inside-the-park homerun by Brittany Yates in the sixth that put Saint Leo comfortably in front 4-1 heading into the seventh.

With junior Colene Lazar cruising by allowing just one hit through six innings, she would also retire the first two PBA hitters in the seventh. That’s where things started to fall into place for Palm Beach Atlantic.

A two-out walk to Walters would be followed by singles from Traxler and Lauren Powell as the Lion’s lead was knocked down to 4-2. Sophomore Brianna Parker then came through with another RBI single that set the stage for a game-tying double from senior Mari Stokes, the first of many big hits on the day for Stokes.

Lazar would walk another PBA batter before tallying a strikeout to end the threat although the Fish would position themselves for potential extra innings.

Pippin continued to put up zeroes in the circle for the Sailfish for the next five innings as they moved ahead to the 12th frame of the game.

A leadoff walk to Traxler then allowed Powell to sacrifice her to second-base. After an out on a flyout from Parker, Stokes stepped in and delivered again with a run-scoring single.

Pippin would retire the Lions in order in the 12th to collect her second win of the season. She would finish with a career-high 11 strikeouts in 12 innings of work while allowing four earned runs on 10 hits with just one walk.

Stokes finished 4-for-7 in the game while Powell, Mackenzie Johnson, and Miranda Welch each posted mutli-hit games as well.

Game Two

After the 12-inning marathon game one, the two teams were forced to play again including a PBA starting lineup that was without the services of an injured Kara Anderson, Ashley Roberts, and Stokes not able to play the field because of a leg injury.

Lauren Bubeck would get the starting nod in game two inside the pitching circle for PBA.

Perhaps fueling their motivation after blowing the late lead in game one, the Lions came out firing on all cylinders in the first inning with five runs.

After the rough first-frame Bubeck would put up back-to-back scoreless innings in the second and third while PBA pushed across a run in the third and fourth. An RBI double from Stokes plated the team’s first run in the third followed by a Traxler single that scored another in the fourth.

The Fish made their biggest move in the fifth as they cut the Lion’s advantage to 5-4 when junior Lisa Santos smacked a two-run single to right-field.

Hoping for a second straight comeback, the Fish hopes would be dashed in the bottom of the sixth inning when Saint Leo plated three more runs to eventually claim the 8-4 victory and a double-header split.

Chris Donovan pitched three innings in relief for the Fish as she was tagged for three runs on four hits and a pair of walks.

Saint Leo’s Megan Still earned the victory with a four inning effort.

Stokes put together another multi-hit effort for PBA with a 2-for-4 showing as did Johnson who was also 2-for-4.

PBA will be back in action next weekend, on February 10-12 as they will travel to St. Petersburg, Florida for the Eckerd College Invitational.

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