LAKELAND, FL – A five-run first inning highlighted by Samantha Prosser's two-run triple got the Moccasins off and running Friday night and it was more than enough for Aubrey Ehlers. Though Florida Southern did not score again, Ehlers held Lynn to just one earned run before getting seventh-inning help from Kristen Beacham as the Mocs opened their three-game series with the Knights with a 5-2 victory.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- The Moccasins (8-8, 4-6 Sunshine State Conference) had their biggest inning of the season by scoring five runs on three hits and two walks in the bottom of the first. They loaded the bases right away when Jadin Dewith walked, Celia Higgins singled and Zierra Flodman drew another walk. Jessica Trana Trana plated the first run of the inning when she grounded out to second, and a base hit by Alex Mace drove in another. Prosser then lined a triple to left center that brought in two more runs before scoring herself on a wild pitch.
- From that point on, however, Kayla Sheffield kept the Moccasins off the board. The junior from nearby Auburndale gave up only two more hits and one more walk the rest of the night, with the Mocs getting just one of those runners into scoring position. That happened when Higgins led off the bottom of the fifth with her second hit of the game and stole second, but Sheffield retired the final six batters of the game to keep the Mocs sitting on five runs.
- The Knights (11-16, 2-5) scored their first run in the top of the second when Shayle Arenson singled leading off the inning and Elizabeth Diaz followed with a double down the line in left. Ehlers quickly re-gained control though by setting down 12 of the next 14 Lynn batters to take a 5-1 lead into the sixth. She ran into trouble there, however, when Mia Veliz and Sheffield started the inning with back-to-back singles. Arenson, who was 2-for-2 at that point, then hammered a pitch into the gap in left center that looked like it might go for a two-run double, but Dewith came streaking across the outfield to make the catch, forcing the base runners to retreat to their original positions. A double steal put runners at second and third, but when Veliz tried to score on a ground ball by Diaz, first baseman Maddi Conner threw her out at the plate.
- The Knights did score another run in the seventh after Sophia Devesa reached on an error and Makayla Caballero followed with a single. When the ball got away in the outfield for another error, the Knights had runners at second and third with none out. Pinch-hitter Grace Hastings got one of them in with a sacrifice fly, prompting a pitching change that brought Beacham into the game. The junior set down both batters she faced, ending the game with a called third strike against Veliz to preserve the 5-2 win.
- Ehlers improved to 7-3 by giving up just one earned run on seven hits in 6.1 innings. She struck out four and did not walk a batter. Beacham picked up her first save by getting the final two outs. Sheffield fell to 7-7 with the loss, allowing five runs on five hits with six strikeouts and three walks.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Prosser and Higgins each had two of Florida Southern's five hits, and the other came from Mace. The triple by Prosser was her second of the season. Higgins is now hitting .380, which is the highest average in the SSC for a freshman.
- Higgins started at shortstop in place of the injured Makayla Deuberry who saw her streak of 84 consecutive starts and 582.0 consecutive innings end. The only shortstop with a longer innings streak was Christie Bailey with 686.2 from April 29, 2011 to April 16, 2013. Kellie Robinson is the only other Moccasin to shortstop with a streak of 500 or more consecutive innings at that position, doing it over the 1991-92 seasons.
- Shannon Reilly replaced Higgins at third base and had a team-high four assists in the game. Taylor Davis made her fourth straight start at second base, a position which has not committed an error yet this season.
- Beacham earned her second save against Lynn in her career. She pitched 4.0 perfect innings against the Knights last year to close out a 7-3 Moccasin win.
- Sheffield had not allowed a run in her last two starts, pitching two shutouts in a doubleheader sweep of Barry on Wednesday.
Florida Southern and Lynn meet again Saturday in a 1 p.m. doubleheader.