LAKELAND – Freshman Zierra Flodman and junior Erica Morrissey have been Florida Southern's hottest hitters in the month of April, and senior Maggie Roberts made sure their good work on Sunday resulted in some critical runs. With Roberts driving in two runs and junior Brandi Jones pitching a complete game for the win, Florida Southern defeated Tampa 3-1 in the finale of their 3-game series.
In Florida Southern's nine games this month, Flodman and Morrissey are each hitting .355 (11-for-31) and they were two of the key components to Sunday's win. Flodman was 2-for-3, Morrissey was 1-for-3 with an RBI, and Roberts went 1-for-2 with a sacrifice fly and two RBI. That trio accounted for four of Florida Southern's five hits, with freshman Jessica Trana picking up the other one to go along with one walk.
Florida Southern (15-27-1, 7-13-1 Sunshine State Conference) struck first in the bottom of the second inning when Flodman reached safely on a throwing error, moved to third on a double by Trana, and came home on a fly ball hit by Roberts.
Tampa (17-19, 9-12) tied the game on an RBI double by Alyssa Colletti in the top of the fourth, one of three hits the Spartans had in that inning. In the other six innings, however, Jones limited the Spartans to a total of three base runners, all of them coming on singles, with all of them left at first base.
The Moccasins came right back to re-claim the lead in the bottom of the fourth, again when an error put their first batter of the inning on base. This time it was Morrssey, who then moved to second on a single by Flodman and scored on a base hit by Roberts that put the Mocs ahead 2-1.
The game was briefly stopped after the fourth inning for the Lakeland Fire Department to take the field in order to rescue an osprey trapped in the top of the fence down the leftfield line. Firefighters were forced to use a ladder to scale the high fence that keeps balls off Frank Lloyd Wright Way but were able to recover the bird. At last report late Sunday afternoon, the osprey was being treated for a broken wing and recovering with the help of Joan Waters from Woodland Wonders.
After the delay, The Mocs added another run in the bottom of the fifth after senior Jordan Alexander drew a 1-out walk. Though Alexander was erased on a force play and replaced by junior Erin Klein, that walk still turned into a run after Klein put herself into scoring position by stealing second. Morrissey drove her home with a single into center.
The Spartans' last chance to score came when Savannah Jerkins singled with two out in the top of the seventh, but Jones won a long battle with Kelsey Humphrey that ended with a game-closing strikeout. It was one of two strikeouts in the game for Jones, who did not walk a batter and allowed six hits. She improved her record to 8-13 on the season, and the win ended Tampa's 18-game winning streak over the Moccasins that had dated back to 2010. The Mocs' last win over the Spartans was a 4-hit shutout pitched by Morgan Brown six years ago to the day, with that one ending in a 4-0 score.
Makaleigh Dooley took the loss for Tampa, falling to 6-9 though the freshman did not allow an earned run. She pitched three full innings plus two batters into the fourth, giving up two runs on just two hits with two strikeouts and no walks. Alyssa Bache also pitched 3.0 innings and gave up one run on three hits with three strikeouts and two walks.
Florida Southern will close out the season next weekend, April 29-30 when it hosts Eckerd in another 3-game conference series. Friday's single game begins at 6 p.m., and Saturday's doubleheader has a 1 p.m. start.