LAKELAND, FL – Alex Mace continued her red-hot hitting with two hits and two RBI, and the arms of Mace and Samantha Prosser from the outfield played pivotal roles too as Florida Southern earned a split with Hillsdale by winning game two of Tuesday night's doubleheader 5-2. The Chargers won game one 6-2 with four runs over the last two innings to offset two earlier RBI by Jessica Trana.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME ONE:
- Both teams had the lead in the first three innings of game one, with the Moccasins (9-11) scoring once in the bottom of the first on Trana's RBI single, and the Chargers scoring twice in the top of the third on a two-run single by Amanda Marra. The Mocs later tied the game in the bottom of the fifth when Camryn Olson walked the bases loaded before issuing a two-out walk to Trana that forced in Maddi Conner.
- In the top of the sixth, the Chargers (4-9) put their first two runners on base when Jessica Taylor reached on an error and Sam Catron doubled to deep left center. The Mocs then had a chance to get pinch-runner Morgan Cox at the plate on a ground ball hit by Madison Stoner, but a second error in the inning allowed her to score the go-ahead run. Pinch-hitter Elaine Townley's sacrifice fly made it 4-2.
- The Chargers added two more runs in the top of the seventh after infield singles by Natalie Stepanenko and Katie Kish, and a walk by Marra loaded the bases. Kristen Beacham, who had entered in relief of Aubrey Ehlers after the first two batters in the top of the sixth, nearly got out of trouble, but Stoner chopped a single through the hole into left field for a two-run single that made the score 6-2.
- The four late runs made a winner of relief pitcher Natalie Walters, who went the final 2.1 innings for Hillsdale to improve to 2-4. She gave up an infield hit to Zierra Flodman in the sixth and a double to Celia Higgins in the seventh, but struck out three and did not issue a walk. She caught Prosser looking to end the fifth inning, the first batter she faced, to keep the bases loaded and the game tied 2-2. Olson had given up two runs on three hits with two strikeouts and five walks in the first 4.2 innings.
- Ehlers pitched 5.0 innings plus two batters in the sixth and fell to 7-5 with the loss. She gave up four runs (two earned) on five hits with one walk and no strikeouts, but it was in the game for four of Florida Southern's five errors.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Jadin Dewith, Higgins, and Trana all had one hit and one walk for Florida Southern.
- The Moccasins turned two double plays, one of them by Prosser from left field who threw a runner out at the plate in the top of the second inning. The other was a line drive hit to Makayla Deuberry at short who doubled off Stoner at first following an infield single in the fourth inning.
- In addition to her outfield assist, Prosser had one of the Moccasins' two extra-base hits, a double in the fourth before Higgins added a double in the seventh.
- Freshman Beka Schulte made her first start of the season behind the plate and may have had the best hit ball of the night, a drive into left center that appeared to be knocked down by the wind before it was caught by Stepanenko short of the warning track.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME TWO:
- Florida Southern again scored first in game two, this time with three in the bottom of the third. A single and an error put Deuberry and Higgins on base and Trana drove in the first with a base hit to center. After Prosser moved two runners into scoring positon with a bunt, Mace got both of them in with a double to right center, putting the Mocs ahead 3-0.
- Hillsdale answered with two in the top of the fourth, loading the bases with a walk and two singles from the bottom of the order. All-American outfielder Katie Kish got the first run home with a single to left, and Marra immediately followed with another RBI single to cut the deficit down to one.
- The Chargers would get no closer as the Moccasins tacked on two more runs when Higgins was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the fourth, and Dewith walked with the bases loaded in the fifth. The Higgins RBI came after Flodman reached safely on an error to start the fourth, and Dewith's RBI came after a two-out error extended the fifth.
- Hillsdale put together two scoring threats in the final two innings, but each time, the Moccasin corner outfielders helped snuff it out. Singles by Emma Johnson and Stepanenko started the top of the sixth, and Johnson took third on a fielder's choice. Marra then flied out to left and when Johnson tried to score to make it a 5-3 game, Prosser threw her second runner out at the plate in the doubleheader. In the top of the seventh, singles by Jessica Taylor and Walters gave Hillsdale two base runners with one out, but Walters rounded the first base bag too far on hers and Deuberry's relay throw from Mace resulted in another Hillsdale out on the bases.
- Ehlers got the win with 3.2 innings of relief, giving up five hits with one strikeout, but no runs. That upped her record to 8-5. Kelli Gault started for Florida Southern and went 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits with one strikeout and one walk.
- Neither Dana Weidinger nor Walters gave up an earned run for Hillsdale, but four errors helped put five unearned runs on the board for Florida Southern. Each went three innings, with Weidinger giving up three runs on six hits, and Walters allowing two runs on only one hit. Weidinger struck out one and walked none, and Walters had no strikeouts and four walks.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Hillsdale out-hit Florida Southern 13-7, but the Moccasins were on the receiving end of four walks, one hit batter, and four errors that put other runners on base. Each team stranded 10.
- The Chargers not only had two runners thrown out on the bases after throws from the outfield, they also had one runner picked off at third by Flodman to end the top of the second when they had the bases loaded. That came after Gault got a force out at the plate for the second out of the inning. The Chargers had another runner forced at home in the fourth inning.
- Mace and Deuberry each had two of Florida Southern's seven hits, but Dewith was on three times with one hit and two walks.
- Trana has at least one RBI in five of the last six games and leads the team with 14 this year. Eleven of those have come in the last 11 games. Higgins had a six-game hitting streak end but still reached base twice with a walk and a HBP. The freshman third baseman has a hit or an RBI in 17 of 20 games this season.
- Trana, Dewith and Flodman had hits in both games for Florida Southern. Stepanenko had two hits in each game for Hillsdale. Kish, who hit .481 for Hillsdale last year, was 2-for-8 with one hit in each game.
- Hillsdale beat Florida Southern for the first time in 12 tries Tuesday night, but Florida Southern's win in game two gives the Mocs a 12-1 lead in the all-time series. The only non-conference Division II opponent the Mocs have played more in the last 14 years is Flagler (20 games) and Valdosta State (17 games). The Chargers reached the NCAA Tournament last year after winning the Great Midwest Athletic Conference.
Florida Southern travels to Winter Park this coming weekend for a three-game series at Rollins. The first game is Friday night at 6 p.m., with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m.