ST. AUGUSTINE, FL – Jenna Weldon etched her name into the history book earlier this year with a perfect game against Chestnut Hill, and Wednesday night she found a new way to put herself in the book again. The freshman pitcher/third baseman hit a tie-breaking grand slam in the fifth inning and threw 4.2 innings of near-perfect relief for the win as Florida Southern rallied from a four-run deficit for a 9-4 win over Flagler. The Saints won Wednesday night's first game, 8-5, when a Moccasin rally in the seventh inning fell a little bit short.
Weldon had a total of five hits in the doubleheader with two in game one and three in game two. The biggest was her home run with the bases loaded in the fifth inning of the nightcap that snapped a 4-4 tie. Weldon had moved from third base to the pitcher's circle in the bottom of the third with the Mocs trailing 4-0, and retired 14 of 15 Flagler batters over the remainder of the game. That made her the first pitcher to ever hit a grand slam for the Moccasins, much less hit one and be the winning pitcher in the same game.
Weldon's performance overshadowed a big night by another Moccasin freshman, Kensie Green, who had four hits (two in each game) and five RBI, as well a four-hit game by Desirae Klumpp in game two. Green started the rally in game two with a two-run double in the fourth. That was one of her two doubles on the night.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME ONE:
- Both teams had the bases loaded in the first inning but were unable to score. For the Moccasins, those runners all came with one out when Shannon Bell singled, Jessica Trana was hit by a pitch, and Zierra Flodman walked. Flagler pitcher Ally Marcano got out of trouble when Weldon's fly ball to center wasn't quite deep enough to score Bell, and Green hit into a force out. Flagler then started its half of the first with hits by Garland Evans and Genevieve Mangini before an error loaded the bases still with none out. Aubrey Ehlers left it that way, however, when Trana caught a line drive at first and turned it into an unassisted double play before Tatum Morgan popped up to end the inning.
- After a double play erased a base runner in the top of the second, and the Saints (24-23) wasted a one-out double by Jaclyn Mijuskovic in the bottom of the second, the Moccasins (24-19) began the scoring in the top of the third with back-to-back RBI doubles by Trana and Flodman.
- Despite a pair of one-out singles by Alex Mace and Lindsey Wilson in the top of the fourth, the Mocs were unable to score, but the Saints did in their half of the fourth. The run came from pinch-runner Kailey Perry, who entered after a base hit by Hayley Kirinsky and a walk by Mijuskovic. After stealing third on her own, Perry escaped a run-down with Megan Miller batting and came home for Flagler's first run.
- After cutting the score in half, Flagler took the lead with six runs in the bottom of the fifth. The tying and go-ahead runs scored on a two-out error, and Mijuskovic delivered an RBI single, but the big blow was a three-run pinch-hit home run by Cassie Patterson. A bases-loaded walk by Mijuskovic in the sixth inning made it 8-2.
- The Moccasins mounted a comeback in the top of the seventh and even after trailing by six runs to start the inning, they got the tying run to the plate by the end of it. A one-out single by Trana got them started and two batters later Weldon kept the inning alive with another hit. Green then doubled to left, driving in two runs, and another double by Makayla Deuberry made it 8-5. After a walk to Mace, head coach Chris Bellotto went to the bench for pinch-hitter Ann Scios, who ran the count full before driving a ball into right field where it was caught by Mangini to end the game.
- The combination of Ehlers and relief pitcher Kristen Beacham, who entered with one out in the fifth, gave up eight runs on 12 hits, but only two of those runs were earned after the Mocs were charged with three errors. Ehlers took the loss, falling to 5-4, giving up one earned run in 4.1 innings with three strikeouts and one walk. Beacham went 1.2 innings and also allowed just one earned run while striking out two and walking three.
- Katlyn McCue, now 15-11, earned the win for Flagler in relief of Marcano, though the Mocs got to her for three runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings. Marcano was removed after 2.1 innings and two runs (one earned) on three hits and two walks. Neither pitcher had a strikeout.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME TWO:
- Flagler opened the scoring in game two with two runs in the bottom of the first inning and two more in the third. All four runs came off the bat of Morgan Murphy. The Saints' second baseman delivered a two-run opposite-field single in the first after a hit batter and an error put the first two hitters on base. Her next at-bat resulted in an opposite-field double to right center in the third following singles by Mangini and her twin sister Natalie Murphy.
- Trailing 4-0, the Moccasin comeback began after a power outage knocked out the stadium lights in the top of the fourth inning. When play resumed with Flodman at first following a single, the Mocs got a single from Weldon and a two-run double from Green to slice the Saints' lead in half. Pinch-runner Annie Tracey then scored all the way from second on a wild pitch to make it a 4-3 game.
- The top of the fifth started with a base hit by Wilson, followed by Klumpp's third hit of the game, a bunt single that put runners at first and second and ended the night for Marcano, who was Flagler's starting pitcher again. McCue came in and got Bell for the first out, but consecutive errors with Trana and Flodman batting allowed Wilson to score the tying run and loaded the bases for Weldon. She hit the first pitch she saw from McCue deep to left, clearing them for her fifth home run of the season, which put Florida Southern ahead 8-4.
- The Mocs used a double by Trana and a single by Green to score their final run in the top of the seventh, which matched their hit total of 12 in game one.
- Weldon, meanwhile, was busy setting down 12 straight batters after she had relieved Kelli Gault with one on and one out in the bottom of the third. She kept Morgan Murphy at second with a pop-up and strikeout before three straight perfect innings. The only base runner against her was a walk by pinch-hitter Tracy Caccavale with one out in the bottom of the seventh. In addition to not allowing any hits, Weldon struck out seven as she improved her record to 5-4 on the season.
- Marcano fell to 9-12 with the loss after giving up five runs (three earned) on eight hits in 4.0-plus innings She struck out two and walked one, while McCue gave up four runs (only one earned) on four hits with one strikeout and no walks.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Prior to Wednesday night, the Moccasins' last grand slam was hit by Mace in a 10-2 win over Florida Tech last year.
- Weldon's fifth home run of the season tied the Florida Southern freshman record held by Kellie Robinson (1989), Sarah Kohlbrenner (2004), and Angela Williams (2006).
- The 24 combined hits in game one between the Moccasins and Saints were the second-highest total in a Florida Southern game this year. Florida Southern and Barry combined for 27 in the Mocs' 11-8 win on March 24.
- Florida Southern tied its season-high with five doubles in the opener, with those coming from Trana, Flodman, Green, Deuberry, and Mace. They also had five in an 8-0 win over Chestnut Hill on March 5. The five extra-base hits also tied a season-high. Trana is now tied for second in the SSC with 14 doubles after hitting one in each game.
- Klumpp's four hits in game two were a career-high, and it was the sixth four-hit game by a Moccasin this season (Bell has four and Trana has the other). It was also the third time this year Klumpp had at least three. The six total four-hit games by the Moccasins this year are the most since they had seven in 1994 when Shelly Davis, Patty Fleig, Keisha Hardy, and Traci Wood all had at least one. The last time the Mocs had four different players with a four-hit game during the season was 2004 (Jackie Leppla, Sarah Kohlbrenner, Stephanie Huber, and Krista Bradley).
- Flodman nearly gave Florida Southern another home run in the second game of the doubleheader, but Flagler leftfielder Megan Miller went over the fence to make the catch in the seventh inning. Miller also caught a fly ball hit by Ashlyn Worcester up against the wall one inning earlier.
- The Moccasins have had 13 games this year in which they have either not struck out, or struck out only once.
UP NEXT: With a bye week in the conference schedule next weekend, Florida Southern will not play again until Tuesday, April 24, when it travels to Tallahassee for a non-conference neutral-site doubleheader against West Florida at 2 p.m.