Softball

Super Girls! Moccasins Advance to South Super Regional With 3-1 Win Over West Alabama

Box Score

TAMPA – The Moccasins have been riding the arm of Christine Clark for quite a while. They’ll be riding it a little while longer. They’ll also be looking for more big hits like the ones they’ve been getting from Randi Grimes and Brittany Martin, not to mention from Clark herself. All three of those players starred Sunday, as Florida Southern defeated West Alabama 3-1 to advance to its first NCAA South Super Regional.

With Clark pitching every inning during the first weekend of the South Region Tournament, the 6th-seeded Moccasins (39-16) moved forward with a 3-0 record that included two wins over 7th-seeded West Alabama (35-25) following their 1-0 win over Barry in the opener. There can be no doubt the weekend sweep was the crowning achievement of Clark’s career – at least so far. The senior gave up six hits to West Alabama on Sunday, struck out four and walked no one. After the Tigers tied the score in the top of the fourth inning, Clark also came through at the plate with RBI singles in the fourth and sixth innings to give the Mocs their final two runs.

Talk about a day to remember. Now the Mocs hope there will be a few more. The road will continue this Friday against either top-seeded Valdosta State or #4 seed Rollins. Those two teams are completing their half of the South Region Tournament in Valdosta, but were stopped after two innings due to rain. The Blazers and Tars will pick up where they left off Monday morning at 10:00 a.m., with a second game to follow if necessary.

Grimes had two hits on Sunday and scored the Mocs’ first two runs. She finished the three games 4-for-9, and drove in the go-ahead run in the first two wins. Martin also had two hits Sunday, drove in one run, had a sacrifice bunt to set up another, and a stolen base that gave Clark her final RBI opportunity. The senior third baseman also had two RBI in the 4-1 win over West Alabama on Saturday.

Sunday, Grimes helped the Mocs score their first two runs with singles in the first and fourth innings. In the bottom of the first, the senior first baseman singled with two out and came home when Martin doubled into left center. After the Tigers tied the game at one in the top of the fourth, Grimes came up again in the bottom of the inning and delivered another single. This time, Martin bunted her into scoring position and a 2-out error opened the door for Clark. The Moccasin pitcher singled into left center bringing in Grimes with the go-ahead run.

The Mocs added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth after Martin singled and stole second. Clark’s 2-out RBI single then made the score 3-1.

Clark got the first two hitters in the top of the seventh, but West Alabama got renewed life when Taylor Miller struck out and reached first safely as the ball went to the back stop. A rare wild pitch by Clark moved her to second, but Dayna Hunn ended the game with a running catch in right center against Tamara Vickers.

After striking out 14 West Alabama hitters on Saturday, Clark (29-9) had to battle through every inning Sunday. Only once did she set down the Tigers in order, but only once did they have more than one base runner in those innings. That one time came in the top of the fourth when the Tigers used a leadoff single by Morgan Morrison, a sacrifice bunt by Brooklyn Phillips and 2-out single by Kelsey Cooper to score their only run.

Cooper was a thorn in the side of Florida Southern, picking up two hits Sunday and going 5-for-6 against the Moccasins over the weekend.

Clark also made two big plays with her glove, snatching line drives out of the air in the second and seventh innings. She also got a sharp play from Christie Bailey in the fifth when the Moccasin shortstop went toward the middle of the infield to field a grounder hit by Stephanie Shoup, and get the final out with a runner rounding the bag at third.

While the Tigers had six hits, Florida Southern had eight hits, with Grimes, Martin and Clark all picking up two. Bailey and Sam Gale each had one apiece. Grimes and Gale hit safely in all three games of the tournament.

The Moccasins will find out later Sunday night who their opponent will be in the South Super Regional, with more details to be announced on Monday.

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