LAKELAND – A pitcher's duel between Florida Southern's Hannah Loyer and Flagler's Haleigh Corbally ended with a 3-run homer by Keeley Murray in the top of the sixth inning in game one, and timely hitting by Brielle Dougherty in the nightcap helped break up another 1-1 game as the Saints took both ends of a doubleheader with the Moccasins, 4-1 and 3-1.
For the second night in a row, Loyer put together a strong start for the Moccasins (8-9-1) as she held the Saints (16-9) to one unearned run on two hits through the first five innings. Corbally had also given up an earned run on three hits before Murray's homer with one out in the top of the sixth put Flagler up 4-1. It spoiled an otherwise impressive outing for Loyer (now 1-3), a junior from Bradenton, who gave up only four hits in the game while striking out seven and walking three. She also had one of the Moccasins' four hits off Corbally and relief pitcher Tinsley Smith.
Corbally improved to 7-4 with her five innings of work, and Smith pitched the final two innings for her sixth save. In addition to the four hits allowed, they combined for three strikeouts and two walks.
Flagler needed just two batters to score the first run of the night. An error put leadoff batter Garland Evans on second to start the first inning and Tori Volz followed with a single through the left side of the infield that brought her home.
Florida Southern countered in the bottom of the fourth when senior Maggie Roberts doubled down the leftfield line to start that inning, took third on a passed ball, and touched the plate on a sacrifice fly by freshman Hannah Whisman. Making the start in right field for the Moccasins, Whisman had an active night, putting down a sacrifice bunt earlier in the game to move Loyer into scoring position and grabbing a line drive to deep right in the second inning to take a potential extra-base hit away from Maddy Murphy.
Trailing 4-1 in the bottom of the seventh following the home run by Murray, the Moccasins got a pinch-hit single from junior Katie Patterson and a walk from junior Erin Klein, but Smith closed the game out with a pop-up to shortstop and a fly ball to left.
In the second game, with Jessica Trana starting in the circle for Florida Southern, and Callie Reed taking the ball for Flagler, the game was again tied 1-1 when the Saints took the lead with single runs in the fifth and sixth innings. Dougherty scored both of those runs after an infield single in the fifth and a double in the sixth. Those were two of the 11 hits Flagler had off Trana and junior Sydney Koch, while the Moccasins had eight off Reed and Smith, who again came on in relief for Flagler and pitched the final three innings for save number seven. Reed improved to 6-3 with the win.
Trana was making her first start as a pitcher this season and it came after the freshman from Sunrise had retired all five hitters she faced in relief of Loyer in Wednesday's first game. She went 4.1 innings in game two for a total of six innings in the doubleheader, and allowed only two runs on seven hits with no strikeouts and one walk. Trana helped her own cause too by driving in the Florida Southern run with a single in the bottom of the third. That came after a 2-out double by junior Erica Morrissey and it was one of two hits Trana had in the game.
Flagler tied the score with a run in the top of the fourth with Mackenzie Conley picking up an infield single that deflected off Trana, and the ball rolling far enough away to allow Malloree Escue to score from third after an earlier double. The Saints then took the lead in the fifth when Dougherty eventually scored on a base hit by Volz. Dougherty would score again in the sixth inning on a 2-out single by Evans.
Down 3-1 after that, Florida Southern put together a serious threat in the bottom of the sixth when it loaded the bases on walks by freshman Zierra Flodman and Klein sandwiched around an infield hit by freshman Makayla Deuberry. Tinsley Smith survived though even when senior Jordan Alexander hit the ball hard up the middle, as Dougherty made the play from her second base position and stepped on the bag for the force out.
Trana and Morrissey each had two of Florida Southern's eight hits in the game, and Alexander duplicated her game-one performance with one hit and one walk. The Mocs also got another pinch-hit single from Patterson, making her 2-for-2 off the bench in the doubleheader.
Florida Southern will open up a 3-game series at Embry-Riddle with a single game at 7 p.m. Friday night, followed by a doubleheader Saturday at 1 p.m.