SANFORD — The Leesburg Lightning continue their winning ways Thursday, downing the Sanford River Rats, 8-4, at Historic Sanford Memorial Stadium.
With the win — the Lightning's seventh straight — Leesburg improved 15-6, while Sanford fell to 8-11.
Leesburg trailed by a run after five innings, but the tide turned in the sixth when Jakob Runnels delivered a two-run single to right field that put the Lightning on top, 3-2. The Bolts would post three more runs in the inning on a wild pitch, a bases loaded walk and an RBI single from outfielder Marco Dinges.
The Lightning went through five pitchers in the ballgame and the bullpen came up big after a rough start from left-hander Matt Dadlani. Sanford drew four straight walks to start the game and scored first on the bases loaded walk.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Tyler Van Dyke entered late in the second inning to limit the damage and tossed 2 2/3 innings allowing just one hit, striking out four and keeping the Rats off the board.
Leesburg got on the scoreboard in the third on a wild throw that Gabriel Santiago from third. The Lightning would cash in eight unanswered runs over the next five frames.
The highlight player of the night was reliever Casey Daiss in his return to the team. Daiss was sharp in three innings, striking out five and allowing just one hit.
“It felt really good to be with my teammates again and just getting back on the mound,” Daiss said. “We had a good defense behind me so it was fun. Pounding the strike zone with fastballs high and sliders in the dirt and they would swing most of the time."
Sophomore Quinn Petty contributed with a sacrifice-fly in the top of the seventh to give Leesburg a five-run lead. In the eighth inning, pinch-hitter Devon Nowells took one swing and blasted a solo home run to left field, his first of the year.
Sanford would plate a pair in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run homer off of Lightning newcomer, Amir Ashgar. Ashgar threw for Leesburg in 2019 and is currently preparing for the World Baseball Classic coming in September.
Veteran closer Connor Gleeson striking out the side in the ninth inning to close out the win. Gleeson has 16 strikeouts in nine innings of work.
Tom Cavanaugh is the communications intern for the Leesburg Lightning.
This article originally appeared on Daily Commercial: College baseball: Leesburg Lightning tops Sanford, extends win streak to 7