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Meredith Owen struck out a season-high 11 batters on Wednesday.
by: David S. Williams
Stetson Sweeps Jacksonville in A-Sun Doubleheader
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  04/10/2013
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Meredith Owen and Courtney Brandt each picked up wins in the circle and Morgan Hatch hit her second home run in three games as Stetson swept an Atlantic Sun Conference doubleheader from host Jacksonville Wednesday night at the JU Softball Complex.

The Hatters (22-16, 5-9 A-Sun) won 5-1 in game one and 3-1 in eight innings in game two to earn their first two conference road wins of the season.

"The two wins were good for morale, we sure needed that," Stetson head coach Frank Griffin said. "I felt good about the team, they played well defensively, both pitchers did a good job, and we produced some runs. We didn't fall under the pressure when (Jacksonville) tied it up late in the ball game. It was a good night for the Hatters."

Stetson benefitted from two clutch hits in game one as Demi Meza hit a two-out, two-run double in the top of the third inning and Hatch performed the same feat in the top of the sixth as a pinch-hitter. Jessica Griffin added an RBI single in the seventh to cap the scoring.

Brandt (8-6) went the distance for the Hatters, allowing just four hits and one run while walking two and striking out five. She held Jacksonville to just 1-for-15 at the plate with runners on base, including stranding a lead-off triple at third in the bottom of the fifth with the Hatters leading just 2-1.

"I just tried to trust myself to throw a good pitch and not try throw it by them," Brandt said.  "These wins were big for our confidence."

Game two proved to be a lot tighter as Owen and Victoria Brown locked up in a pitcher's duel. Hatch broke a scoreless tie with a solo home run in the top of the fifth, marking her third extra base hit in as many games.

"I have just been seeing the ball a lot better from working off the tee and keeping my head down," Hatch said. "I think that's been my biggest problem this season."

Jacksonville fought back and tied the game on Sarah Simon's solo home run in the bottom of the sixth.

The game moved to extra innings, where the Hatters loaded the bases with no outs. Brown appeared to be working herself off the hook after getting a strike out and a pop up, but she then unleashed back-to-back wild pitches allowing Chrissy Morello and Griffin to score the go-ahead runs.

The Dolphins weren't finished and manufactured a two-out rally bringing Simon back to the plate representing the winning run. Owen jammed Simon inside and coaxed a game-ending comebacker to preserve her first conference victory this year.

"It is about time," Owen said. "It has been a long conference season but I feel like we are turning it around and it is about to be really good for us. Our motto coming into today was to relax and have fun."

Owen (13-7) finished with a season-high 11 strikeouts, equaling her career-best mark set last season.

The Dolphins (30-12, 11-5 A-Sun) had their nine-game win streak snapped.

Stetson returns home for an eight-game homestand beginning with a doubleheader against Kennesaw State at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Notes: Chrissy Morello stole three bases and Kayla Drury recorded her first career steal ... Stetson improved to 4-1 in extra innings.

Stetson Softball