LAKELAND, FL – Florida Southern and Lynn came into the opener of their three-game series with the top two team ERAs in the Sunshine State Conference and game one, was of course, dominated by the pitchers. For Florida Southern it was Kelli Gault and Aubrey Ehlers, and for Lynn it was Francais Olexa. Even after both teams scored early, they combined for just 11 hits in the game and the Knights pushed the go-ahead run across in the bottom of the fifth to pull out a 2-1 win over the Moccasins.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Both teams scored runs in the second inning, the Moccasins (10-5, 3-4) on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Desirae Klumpp, the Knights on an RBI single by Mackenzie Wyatt. Klumpp's fly ball followed singles by Zierra Flodman and Shannon Reilly that were sandwiched around a walk by Makayla Deuberry. The Knights then got a leadoff walk from Elizabeth Diaz in the bottom of the second and a double by Kayla Sheffield that put runners at second and third for Wyatt.
- After Wyatt's hit tied the score, the Knights (13-6, 5-2) could have done more damage when they too loaded the bases with one out. Gault worked out of it though by getting a force out at the plate when .462-hitter Olexa hit a ground ball to Deuberry at short, and another grounder back to the pitcher's circle for the final out of the inning.
- After the sacrifice fly, the Moccasins were held to just two base runners the rest of the game by Olexa, and both of them were singles by Jessica Trana. The first of those came in the top of the third, but pinch-runner Jordan Sheppard was thrown out stealing. The second came in the top of the sixth when another pinch-runner, Annie Tracey, was stranded at first after a pair of fly ball outs.
- Lynn scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth after Gault hit Victoria Rios with a pitch with one out, and Karolina Flores followed with a double. That brought Ehlers into the game with runners at second and third, but Diaz greeted her with a single that plated Rios. Moccasin right fielder Lindsey Wilson kept the damage to a minimum though by throwing Flores out at the plate, and when Diaz attempted to take second on the play, Flodman threw her out too to end the inning with an unconventional 9-2-6 double play.
- After Ehlers pitched a 1-2-3 bottom of the sixth, Flodman led off the top of the seventh with a shot into left field that looked like it would be a hit to give the Mocs life. However, Erin Sundook made an amazing catch to keep the ball from landing inside the line, and Olexa got the next two batters to finish the game.
- Olexa improved to 5-1 with the win, scattering five hits, striking out three and walking one. Gault fell to 4-2 with the loss, combining with Ehlers to hold Lynn to six hits. Gault struck out one and walked two, while Ehlers struck out one and did not issue a walk.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Gault had thrown a no-hitter in her previous start against Wheeling Jesuit on Tuesday night but Olexa led off the bottom of the first with a single on Friday.
- While Sundook's catch against Flodman was the type of game-saving play Lynn needed in the seventh inning, Shannon Bell made an equally impressive catch for Florida Southern in the first. That denied Flores a likely double, and with Olexa already on base, it saved the Moccasins a run. Deuberry also made an impressive catch in the fourth inning on a softly hit ball by Caitlin Rolston that nearly dropped into left field for a hit.
- Bell extended her hitting streak to 12 games with a single in the top of the first.
- Reilly made her first start of the season as the DP and singled in her first at-bat.
UP NEXT: Florida Southern and Lynn resume their series with a doubleheader Saturday beginning at noon.