DeLand, Fla. -- A Lipscomb error with two outs in the bottom of the seventh inning allowed Stetson to walk-off with a 1-0 victory in game one of an Atlantic Sun Conference doubleheader Friday afternoon at Patricia Wilson Field. The Bisons earned a split with a 9-2 win in game two.
With the victory in the opener, Stetson (30-9, 14-5) won its 30th game of the season and clinched a spot in the Atlantic Sun tournament for the third year in a row.
"I felt like (clinching) was going to happen, but I would like us to go in to the tournament (with a high seed)," Stetson head coach Frank Griffin said. "Of course, once you get there you have to beat everybody anyway if you want to win, and we intend to go there to win."
On Friday, Meredith Owen (18-5) tossed a six-hit shutout in game one to earn her league-leading 18th victory of the season.
Lipscomb's Ashley Anderson (17-3) matched Owen inning-for-inning until the bottom of the seventh, when Courtney Brandt led off with a double into rightcenter field. Brandt moved to third with two outs on a sacrifice bunt by Jessie TenBroeck. Chrissy Morello then hit a grounder that was mishandled by the shortstop, allowing Brandt to sprint home with the game-winning run.
Owen pitched out of jams in the first, third, fourth, and fifth innings. After Hatters shortstop Amanda Grimaldo turned an unassisted double play to end the fifth, Owen retired the final six batters in a row for her seventh shutout of the year. She lowered her ERA to 0.75, which as of Friday afternoon ranked second in the NCAA.
In game two, Lipscomb (35-11, 15-7) broke open a 1-1 game with two runs in the fourth, two in the fifth, and four in the seventh. Mimi Cartwright went 4-for-4, while Kristen Sturdivant homered and drove in three.
Tanner Sanders allowed one earned run over seven innings for the victory.
"I thought Lipscomb had a very good team," Griffin said. "I was most impressed with their first pitcher, but their second one was extremely good, too. We managed to squeak out that first ballgame 1-0, and the second one got out of hand. I am just looking forward to tomorrow."
Jessica Griffin was 2-for-3 with a double and three walks to lead Stetson. Grimaldo and Brandt each had RBI singles in game two.
The teams will play an all-important rubber game at 10 a.m. Saturday with the winner having the inside track to the no. 2 seed for the A-Sun tournament.
Notes: Stetson has won 30 games in a season 12 times during Frank Griffin's tenure as head coach ... Catcher Jessica Griffin threw out two would-be basestealers in game two ... Demi Meza robbed Paige Neely of a base hit with a diving stop to her left in the first inning of game two.