LAKELAND, FL – With hitting and run production all through the lineup in game one, along with strong pitching by Kristen Beacham and Kelli Gault, Florida Southern picked up a 6-1 win over Eckerd on Saturday, but the Tritons rallied from a 2-run deficit with three in the top of the seventh to win game two, 5-4.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME ONE:
- Eckerd used three first-inning singles by Nikole Van Gennep, Kaleigh Floyd, and Chelsea Armstrong to score a run in the top of the first inning in the opener, but that was all the Tritons (4-10, 1-5 Sunshine State Conference) could muster against Beacham and Gault, as they were held to just three hits the remainder of the game. Beacham retired 10 of the final 12 batters she faced. The sophomore gave up one run on five hits with two strikeouts and no walks in 4.0 innings to improve her record to 3-0. Gault then pitched the final 3.0 innings and gave up just one hit with one strikeout and no walks. That hit was an infield single by Crystal Garcia, and the only baserunner the Tritons had over the final three innings. That gave Gault her first save of the season.
- The Moccasins (8-4, 3-3) weren't behind very long as Lindsey Wilson led off the bottom of the first with single, scored on a triple by Shannon Bell, and Bell scored immediately thereafter on a base hit by Jessica Trana that gave Florida Southern a 2-1 lead. Van Gennep then set down 10 of the next 11 batters, allowing another triple to Bell in the third, before the Mocs could score again. That third run, which was scored in the bottom of the fourth, was created by a group of Moccasins, beginning with a walk by Alex Mace. Zierra Flodman's bunt moved Mace into scoring position and Makayla Deuberry followed with a single to left. Even with two out, Mace was forced to stop at third, but when the ball was mishandled in the outfield for an error, the sophomore second baseman had a chance to score and did so, putting the Mocs up 3-1.
- Florida Southern blew the game open with three in the bottom of the fifth, highlighted by Kensie Green's 2-run double that followed a walk by Wilson and Bell getting hit by a pitch. Flodman drove in pinch-runner Jordan Sheppard with a single to center.
- The Moccasins ended up with nine hits in the game off a trio of Eckerd pitchers that included Van Gennep as the starter. The junior was removed after the first four innings in which she allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits with two strikeouts and one walk. She fell to 3-7 with the loss. The Mocs tacked on their other three runs against Ally Costa.
- Florida Southern's nine hits came from seven different players and included two apiece from Wilson and Bell at the top of the lineup. All nine starters were involved in the offense, either with hits, RBI or advancing runners into scoring position. Four of Eckerd's hits came from two players, with Van Gennep and Garcia each recording two. The bottom five spots in the lineup though were just 1-for-15.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME TWO:
- Florida Southern took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning in game two, an inning that started with singles by Mace and Flodman. Following another single by Annie Tracey, the Mocs got a bases-loaded walk from Desirae Klumpp and 2-run single from Bell.
- Eckerd answered with two in the top of the third, which began when Van Gennep, who was playing first base, struck out swinging but reached base when the ball went to the backstop. After Garcia reached on a bunt single, the Tritons pulled off a double steal and a wild pitch by Aubrey Ehlers brought in Van Gennep. An RBI single by Armstrong made it a 3-2 game.
- The Mocs put the leadoff hitter on base in the third (a single by Mace) and fourth (a walk by Wilson) and got those runners into scoring position with sacrifice bunts by Tracey and Bell, but were unable to score again until the bottom of the sixth. They got that run when Klumpp struck out swinging, but alertly continued on to first base after her follow-through while the Tritons appealed whether she actually brought the bat around. The strikeout/wild pitch put Klumpp on base, and after moving to second on a ground out by Wilson, she scored on a 2-out error that pushed the Mocs' lead to 4-2.
- Now down by two, Eckerd started the top of the seventh with runners at second and third after a Florida Southern error and a single by Van Gennep. Green temporarily saved the runs by catching a line drive hit by Garcia, but the Tritons got one of them in when Armstrong delivered a base hit through the right side of the infield for her second RBI single of the game. Dana Paul then doubled into the gap in left center, bringing in Van Gennep and Armstrong with the tying and go-ahead runs.
- Trailing 5-4, the Moccasins' had their rally stopped in the bottom of the seventh by Van Gennep and two outstanding defensive plays by the Tritons. After spending the first six innings at first base while Janna Gaburo and Grace Willeck handled the pitching, Van Gennep moved into the pitcher's circle to start the seventh inning and was tested right away. Green led off with a ball hit up the middle that second baseman Kaylin Kramer backhanded behind the bag and made an off-balance throw to first that nipped Green for out number one. Mace then hit a hard one-bouncer to Armstrong that sent the Eckerd third baseman into the air where she managed to field it, land, and throw across the infield for out number two. They were critical plays as Flodman and Deuberry followed with back-to-back singles, either one of which might have tied the game for Florida Southern with a runner on base in scoring position. Instead, the Mocs were still down by a run when Van Gennep struck out pinch-hitter Alli Carroll to end the game.
- Van Gennep's first save of the season preserved the win for Willeck, who held Florida Southern to one run (unearned) in 4.0 innings of relief while giving up just two hits. She struck out three and walked one, improving to 1-1. The Mocs scored their first three runs against Gaburo, who gave up five hits and two walks with no strikeouts.
- The Moccasins started Aubrey Ehlers who pitched the first three innings and left with a 3-2 lead before Beacham pitched innings four and five. The Tritons had two runs (one earned) on two hits against Ehlers with four strikeouts and two walks, and Beacham gave up just one hit with three strikeouts and no walks. Gault came in for the final two innings, but after a 1-2-3 sixth, the Tritons got to her for three runs in the seventh (two earned) on three hits. Gault is now 3-1 on the season.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- The last Moccasin player with two triples in a game before Bell hit two of them in game one was Steph Graziani in a game at Warner in 2011. Prior to that it was current assistant coach Michelle Lovell in a home game against West Liberty State in 2007. Bell has now hit safely in nine straight games after picking up two hits in each game Saturday, going 4-for-6 with three RBI.
- Bell, Flodman, and Deuberry all hit safely in all three games in the series. Bell was 5-for-8 after going 9-for-18 against the Tritons last year, and Deuberry was 4-for-10 after going 7-for-14 against them last year. Garcia was the only Triton with hits in all three games, as the Eckerd shortstop went 5-for-9.
- In four career appearances against Eckerd, Beacham is 2-0 with one save and a 0.82 ERA covering 18.0 innings with only 10 hits allowed.
- The runs against Gault in the seventh inning of game two were the first scored against the sophomore in 23.2 innings dating back to the first doubleheader of the season at Francis Marion. She still leads the SSC with a 0.74 ERA.
- Klumpp picked up her first extra-base hit of the season with a double in game one.
UP NEXT: Florida Southern will host Wheeling Jesuit from West Virginia in a doubleheader Tuesday night at 6 p.m. that will close out their 10-game homestand.