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Doubleheader sweep denies Lions 40th win

By STEVE LEE, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 28, 2002

SAINT LEO -- Things looked promising for the home team Saturday as Saint Leo had two chances to set a single-season record for wins.

Even better for the Lions, Heather Gamlin, who Wednesday became the school's single-season win leader with 29, was to pitch the two games against Barry.

But Barry's 7-0 and 4-0 doubleheader sweep kept Saint Leo at 39 victories and thwarted its bid for the first conference title in the school's 26-year history.

Since Barry (19-7) has a two-game lead on Saint Leo (17-9) in the Sunshine Athletic Conference, the best the Lions (39-15 overall) can do is share the title with the Buccaneers. And that's only if Barry loses twice today to Florida Southern and Saint Leo sweeps a doubleheader against Lynn.

All but conceding the conference title to the Bucs, Saint Leo coach Christi Wade said, "Hopefully, we can match up with Barry in the regionals."

As the second-place team in the SSC, Saint Leo is virtually a lock for a bid to the South Region Division II playoffs. Especially after the NCAA increased the number of regional playoff teams from four to six this season.

As for the 40-win plateau, Wade believes it will be achieved in today's doubleheader.

"There's no doubt in my mind we can get the 40 wins," Wade said. "It's big for the team. It's been one of the team goals. For me, I just want to win."

Barry pitcher Geralyn Elam made sure that did not happen Saturday. Elam tossed consecutive three-hit shutouts to quiet Saint Leo.

In four games against the Lions this season, Elam, the SSC pitcher of the month in March, has not allowed a run and struck out 51.

"They've got a good pitcher," Wade said. "She's tough."

Nora Conroy did most of the damage against Gamlin. Conroy's grand slam highlighted the Bucs' five-run fifth in the first game. In the second game, her bases-loaded single and subsequent two-base error by leftfielder Kristin Alvarez led to three runs in the top of the sixth. Alvarez had two of the Lions' three hits off Elam in the second game. She led off the second with a single and hit a two-out single in the seventh.

As if the Bucs needed any help, the Lions committed six errors in the second game.

"We gave them that ballgame," Wade said.

Saint Leo, which swept four games from Barry last season, entered Saturday's doubleheader with an 11-3 record since losing twice to the Bucs on April 6.

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