DeLand, Fla. - The Stetson softball team improved to 13-8 on the season with a 2-0 shutout win over visiting Houston Baptist (9-14) at Patricia Wilson Field on Sunday afternoon as freshman Courtney Brandt (Dade City, Fla.) and sophomore Meredith Owen (Jackson, Miss.) combined on a three-hit shutout. Owen tossed four scoreless innings of relief to earn her seventh win while Brandt drove in the game-winning run with a first inning sacrifice fly.
Stetson manufactured the only run it would need right off the bat as sophomore center fielder Chrissy Morello (Ormond Beach, Fla.) led off the bottom of the first with an infield single, stole second, went to third on a groundout and scored when Brandt lifted an RBI sacrifice fly to right field.
Offense was at a premium for both teams the rest of the way. The Hatters worked out of a jam in the top of the third when freshman catcher Kandi Kuder (Newbury Park, Calif.) threw a runner out stealing in her first career start and freshman shortstop Demi Meza (Oxnard, Calif.) made a long throw to first to put out HBU catcher Kate Maddock and strand two Huskies base runners.
The Hatters pushed an insurance run across in the bottom of the fifth as junior third baseman Jordan Cleghorn (Ball Ground, Ga.) led off with a double to deep center field and alertly scored on an RBI infield single from freshman catcher Allison Sutherlin (Huntsville, Ala.), who had entered as a defensive replacement in the top of the fourth inning. Huskies second baseman Mac Christensen dove in an attempt to stop Sutherlin's grounder from getting through the infield, but only deflected the ball into short center field as Cleghorn rounded third and came home.
Brandt held HBU off the scoreboard on two hits and two walks with one strikeout in three innings to start in her return to the circle from a leg injury suffered March 3 at UCF. Owen took over to start the fourth frame and blanked HBU the rest of the way, allowing just one base hit and no walks with two strikeouts. Sarah Shotton struck out six in a complete game loss for Houston Baptist.
Morello stole two bases to take over the team lead with nine on the year while Cleghorn's double was her second of the season.
The Hatters continue their homestand at 4:00 pm Wednesday when Dartmouth comes to Patricia Wilson Field for a doubleheader. Live Stats and Hatter Vision will be available at GoHatters.com.
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