Nashville, Tenn. -- For the first time since 2008, the Hatters will be playing for the Atlantic Sun Championship.
Meredith Owen tossed a three-hitter in the circle and hit a three-run home run at the plate to help lead Stetson to a 4-1 victory over Mercer Friday in the Atlantic Sun tournament winner’s bracket semifinals at Draper Diamond.
The Hatters (37-12) improved to 3-0 on the week and will advance to Saturday’s conference championship at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN3. Stetson’s opponent will be determined Friday night.
Owen has been strong in the circle for the Hatters during this week’s tournament, but on Friday, she came through at the plate as well. With the scored tied 1-1 in the bottom of the third, the Hatter senior stepped to the plate with runners at first and second and two outs.
“I was just looking for anything good to hit,” Owen said. “I was up there to get the best swing I could get in. She threw me something outside, so I just went with it.”
Owen smashed a line drive to deep right field that just carried over the reach of the Mercer right fielder to give Stetson a three-run lead.
“I thought the right fielder caught it when I rounded first,” Owen said. “Then I saw her glove was empty when she came back down, and I was on cloud nine after that.”
Stetson had trailed 1-0 after an RBI double by Krista Kennedy in top of the first. The Hatters tied the score in the bottom of the third when Courtney Brandt doubled and scored on Jessie TenBroeck’s RBI single.
“We came from behind, but that’s not uncommon for this team,” head coach Frank Griffin said. “Meredith was in a position where she could make a huge impact, and she did what she has done so many times this year. That three-run home run sealed the deal.”
Owen (25-7) scattered three hits and struck out six en route to her 25th win of the season. She has pitched all 21 innings during the tournament for Stetson and has held opponents to just 2-for-27 with runners on base.
Stetson’s outfielders were busy throughout the game, tracking down several deep flies off of the bats of the Bears hitters.
“The outfielders did a great job,” centerfielder Chrissy Morello said. “We had to really work and run for those balls because the wind was blowing like crazy from the storms. We wanted to step up for Meredith, and I am glad we did. She deserved this one.”
The win was Stetson's 13th come-from-behind win this season and second during the A-Sun tournament.
Notes: Stetson will be making its 10th appearance in an A-Sun Final but first since the new tournament format took effect in 2011 ... Meredith Owen hit the 32nd home run of her career, moving her into the Top 20 in Atlantic Sun history ... Stetson has hit 44 home runs this season, one shy of the school record ... The Hatters have tied the school record with 74 doubles this season ... Jessie TenBroeck stole her league-leading 28th base of the year (second time stealing third base) ... Brittany Hawn extended her errorless streak to 29 games ... Owen is the fourth Hatter to win 25 games in a season, the first since Amanda Lindsey in 2010.