LAKELAND, FL – Kelli Gault has had a brilliant first month of the season for Florida Southern this year and in her final appearance of February, the sophomore pitcher stepped into the history books by throwing the first no-hitter in the Moccasins' new home stadium. The 1-0 win in game one Tuesday night came courtesy of an unlikely RBI single by Annie Tracey before the Mocs blew open another close game with a 5-run fifth inning to take the nightcap 6-1.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME ONE:
- Wheeling Jesuit's only two base runners came on a pair of walks by Cassie Holden in the first inning and Molly Welsh in the seventh, both of which came on full counts. The walk to Holden started the game before Gault retired 19 in a row, with only two balls hit out of the infield. The streak ended with the walk to Welsh, but Gault finished the game with a pop-up and strikeout. The strikeout came on a pitch that ended up in the dirt with Zierra Flodman throwing down to first for the final out. It was the sixth strikeout of the game for Gault, matching a career-high. Now 4-1, Gault's ERA dropped to 0.59 in what was Florida Southern's first complete game of the season.
- The closest thing to a hit Wheeling Jesuit (3-7) had was a ball off the bat of left fielder Alaina York leading off the top of the fourth. Hit past Gault and up the middle, it was cut off by shortstop Makayla Deuberry who had no margin for error on the play and got the throw off to first baseman Jessica Trana just in time for the out.
- The Moccasins, who are now 10-4, scored their only run in the bottom of the second when they had three of their six hits off Wheeling Jesuit ace Mallory Chapman. The first was a leadoff single by Kensie Green and the second was a one-out single by Flodman. A wild pitch moved them both up an additional base and with two out in the inning, Tracey got Green in from third with an infield single. The ball was hit in front of the plate, but by the time catcher Victoria Scott got to it and threw to first it was too late to get the speedy Tracey. Green, who had to briefly hold position off the third base bag came home once the throw was away, and it proved to be the only run of the game. The hit by Tracey was only her second of the season in her second start, and it was her first RBI.
- Chapman kept the Cardinals in the game by allowing just six hits, all of them singles, and walking only one. She struck out four but fell to 2-3 on the season with a 1.16 ERA. Three of the hits she allowed were infield singles by Tracey, Trana and Shannon Bell. The Mocs also got a hit from Deuberry.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME TWO:
- A two-out, bases-loaded error in the bottom of the first inning gave Florida Southern a 1-0 lead in game two, and it remained that way until the Moccasins got six straight two-out hits in the bottom of the fifth to score five times and blow the game open against Erin Unterbrink. She had limited the Mocs to five hits prior to that.
- A double by Trana started the uprising and an infield single by Green kept it going. Alex Mace followed with a single through the left side of the infield that brought in Trana and another single by Flodman loaded the bases. Deuberry made it a 4-0 game with a 2-run single into right center, and Desirae Klumpp followed with another hit that made it 5-0. The final run scored on a double steal involving Klumpp and Deuberry.
- The Moccasins nearly got another shutout from Kristen Beacham and Aubrey Ehlers, but the Cardinals broke that up by scoring on an error with two out in the top of the seventh after pinch-hit singles by Mercedes McNett and Carolyn Blattler.
- Beacham went the first five innings and twice worked her way out of bases-loaded, out-out jams. In the second, the sophomore got a force out at the plate and a 3-2 strikeout. In the fifth, she got back-to-back strikeouts to end the threat, with the second one again coming on a 3-2 count. The Cardinals had four hits against her, and Beacham equaled her career-high with seven strikeouts against just one walk.
- Ehlers went the final two innings and gave up one unearned run on three hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Gault's no-hitter was the first for Florida Southern since February 18, 2012, when Christine Clark (4.0 innings) and Liana Derringer (1.0 inning) combined for one in an 8-0 win over Western Ontario. The last 7-inning no-hitter by Florida Southern came from Clark on April 21, 2011, when she threw a perfect game against Florida Tech, a 1-0 win in which the Mocs scored in the bottom of the sixth. No freshman or sophomore had thrown a complete game no-hitter since Megan Brown had two of them in 2005.
- Florida Southern's last three 7-inning no-hitters have all been won by 1-0 scores (Gault, Clark, and Brown at Valdosta State in 2007).
- The Moccasins had gone 14 consecutive games dating back to last year without a complete game. The last had been an 8-inning, 3-0 win by Brandi Jones at Tampa last April 28.
- Though Tuesday night marked the first time Florida Southern had ever played Wheeling Jesuit, the Moccasins are now 21-0 against teams from West Virginia.
- Trana went 3-for-3 in game two for her second 3-hit game of the season.
- Bell extended her hitting streak to 11 games by going 3-for-6 in the doubleheader. Her batting average reached the .500 mark before she flew out to right and grounded out to second in her final two at-bats.
- Florida Southern's two wins give the Sunshine State Conference a 23-game winning streak against non-conference opponents.
UP NEXT: Florida Southern will be in Boca Raton this weekend for a 3-game series at Lynn. The Moccasins and Knights play a single game Friday afternoon at 2:00, and a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at 12:00.