LAKELAND – Florida Southern's pitching staff shut out Tampa in 12 of the 14 innings in Saturday afternoon's doubleheader, but the Spartans used a 3-run third inning in game one, and a 3-run fourth inning in game two to post a pair of 3-0 wins over the Moccasins.
Junior Brandi Jones went the distance in Saturday's first game and limited the Spartans (17-18, 9-11 Sunshine State Conference) to six hits while striking out three and walking one. Four of the seven base runners for the Spartans came in the fateful third inning, with a 2-run homer by Kelsey Humphrey the big blow.
In the second game, the Spartans took advantage of two Moccasin errors to score their first run before Taylor Szostak and Savannah Jerkins delivered back-to-back 2-out RBI doubles. All three runs against FSC junior starting pitcher Sydney Koch were unearned before junior Hannah Loyer came in to pitch the final 2.2 innings.
The Moccasins (14-27-1, 6-13-1) were kept off the scoreboard by Alyssa Bache and Makaleigh Dooley, with Bache pitching a 5-hit shutout in game one, and Dooley tossing a 4-hit shutout in game two. Junior Erica Morrissey had three of Florida Southern's nine hits in the doubleheader and also drew one walk. Senior Jordan Alexander was the only other Moccasin to hit safely in each game.
The third inning in game one was the only inning in which the Spartans had more than one base runner against Jones, who is now 7-13. One of those was a leadoff walk by Alyssa Colletti, which preceded Humphrey's home run to left center. Sahrina Cortes, who had two hits in each game for Tampa, later reached on an infield single, stole second and came around to score on a double by Bre Setree.
The Moccasins had been held to just one hit through the first five innings before Alexander, Morrissey and senior Maggie Roberts all singled in the bottom of the sixth inning. Bache slammed the door though when freshman Zierra Flodman hit a hard ground ball to short that Colletti flipped over to second baseman Cristina Clauberg just in time to get pinch-runner Jordan Sheppard for the force out that ended the inning.
Bache, who is now 11-9, completed her sixth shutout of the season by working around a leadoff double by freshman Jessica Trana in the bottom of the seventh. Bache struck out six and walked one.
The second game remained scoreless until the top of the fourth when Setree reached on an error to start the inning. Dooley bunted pinch-runner Lauren Pascoe to second and she took third on a wild pitch before Bache walked. Pascoe would then score on an error during a stolen base play, and after Colletti grounded out to short for the second out of the inning, Szostak and Jerkins hit back-to-back RBI doubles to make it a 3-0 game.
Florida Southern's four hits off Dooley were spaced out through the game, with Alexander picking up a single in the first inning, junior Erin Klein adding another single in the third, Morrissey launching a double to centerfield in the sixth, and Flodman notching a single in the seventh. Dooley also struck out seven and issued no walks as she improved to 6-8.
Koch fell to 5-5 even without giving up an earned run in her 4.1 innings of work, allowing six hits with no strikeouts and two walks. Loyer pitched the final 2.2 innings and gave up no runs on two hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
The doubleheader also saw Alexander start game one behind the plate and game two at first base before moving over to play shortstop. It gives the senior from Valrico at least one start in her college career at every position on the field and designated player except for pitcher.
Florida Southern and Tampa will wrap up their series on Sunday at 2 p.m. with a game that was re-scheduled after Friday night's rainout.