DELAND, Fla. – Highlighted by a walk-off single in the bottom of the eighth by Kayla Drury in Game 1, and a grand slam off the bat of Demi Meza in Game 2, the Stetson University softball team completed a sweep of South Dakota and Memphis, Saturday at Patricia Wilson Field.
The Hatters defeated the Coyotes 3-2 in extra innings and then the Tigers 9-7 to post a perfect 4-0 record during this weekend’s Stetson Classic. With the Saturday sweep, the Hats stand at 12-3 heading into the start of conference play.
In Game 1, Stetson sent Courtney Brandt to the circle where she pitched four solid innings, surrendering just one run on three hits and striking out five. She left the game after the fourth with the Hatters leading 2-1, thanks to a two-run home run from catcher Jessica Griffin, her first of the season.
In relief, Meredith Owen followed in Brandt’s footsteps, scattering three hits, and giving up a run, where after seven full the score sat at 2-2. After another scoreless frame by Owen in the top of the eighth, the Hatters loaded the bases with Owen on second to start the inning, and then back-to-back singles by Griffin and Amanda Grimaldo. That set the stage for Drury, who drove a pitch over the head of South Dakota’s left fielder, giving Owen plenty of time to score the winning run and take part in the ensuing home plate celebration.
Both Griffin and Drury led the way offensively in the first game with two hits apiece, while Owen picked up the win in relief, fanning a half a dozen Coyote batters in the process. For the Hatters, it was their second walk-off win in five games, as they defeated UT Martin in similar fashion last weekend in Orlando at the UCF Tournament.
In the night cap, Taylor Cochran and Sarah Read combined for six innings of work in the circle as the Stetson offense exploded for nine runs on 10 hits. The scoring was highlighted by Meza’s grand slam, the first of her career, which sailed over the scoreboard in left center field, making it 9-2 Stetson after four. Down seven runs, the Tigers chipped away at the Hatter lead, plating one in the fifth and four in the sixth, which made it a two run game heading into the seventh.
Owen took the circle in the Bottom of the seventh as Memphis was the designated home team. It was her second relief appearance of the day, and she pitched a 1-2-3, inning, striking out two of the three batters she faced for the save. Read was credited with the win and moved to 5-0 on the year, while Owen’s save was her first of the season and sixth of her career, making her the all-time saves leader in Stetson program history.
The offensive star in Game 2 was of course Meza, who went 2-4 with her mammoth slam and an RBI double, giving her 5 runs batted in and a run scored in the second game.
Both Meza and Brandt were selected to the Stetson Classic All-Tournament team. The pair went a combined 13-26, with two home runs and 9 RBI during a two day stretch.
The Hatters finished the Stetson Classic, winning four games in two-days, but Classic action will continue on Sunday, with Bethune-Cookman taking on South Dakota at 10 a.m. and then Memphis at Noon at Patricia Wilson Field. Stetson next takes the field Mar. 11, when the USC Upstate Spartans come to town for the beginning of A-Sun play, with a doubleheader Tuesday and then a single game, Wednesday afternoon.
Live Stats of the final two games of the 2014 Stetson Classic will be available via gohatters.com
POST GAME NOTES
--Demi Meza’s grand slam was the first of her career and the first for Stetson since March 9, 2013 when Meredith Owen accomplished the feat vs. Valparaiso.
--Meredith Owen now has six career saves, the most for any Stetson pitcher in program history
--Owen surrendered her first earned run of the season on Saturday, she now has an 0.16 ERA in 37.2 innings of work.
--The Hatters have scored nine or more runs in a game four times this season, all at home
--9+ games include 12 vs Rhode Island (Feb. 7), 9 vs Elon (Feb. 7), 10 vs. South Dakota (Mar. 7) and 9 vs. Memphis (Mar. 8).