DeLand, Fla. -- The longest game in Patricia Wilson Field history had a happy ending for the Hatters.
Demi Meza singled home Jessie TenBroeck in the bottom of the 13th inning to lift Stetson to a 4-3 victory over visiting Lipscomb in the teams' Atlantic Sun Conference series finale Saturday afternoon.
In an epic classic that featured both starting pitchers combining for over 340 pitches and working out of numerous extra-inning jams, the Hatters (31-9, 15-5 A-Sun) took the series from the Bisons (35-11, 15-8) two games to one to remain in sole possession of second place in the league standings.
"It was pretty exciting. In fact, I'm exhausted," Stetson head coach Frank Griffin said after the game. "I don't know how (pitcher Meredith Owen) lasted that long. She did a great job. Our defense was strong, they kept their composure even with runners in scoring position, and I was real proud of them."
Tied at two after seven innings, the teams played the final four frames under international tiebreak rules. Lipscomb and Stetson traded runs in the 10th inning as the Hatters survived being down to their final strike. Starting pitchers Ashley Anderson and Meredith Owen shrugged off any signs of fatigue and held their opponents scoreless over the next two innings until Stetson finally broke through in the 13th. With one out and a runner at second base, Meza chopped a hard grounder to the right side that bounced off of and away from the second baseman. TenBroeck never hesitated around third and sprinted home with the winning run.
"I saw (Demi) hit a high bouncer over first base, and I thought, 'I know have to score, this is the moment,'" TenBroeck said. "It was an incredible game, seeing that everyone had to dig deep."
Meza's game-winning hit helped make amends for a dropped throw in the top of the 12th inning.
"We just never give up," Meza said. "You just never know about this team because we always have each other’s backs, and if I make an error I know I can count on all of my teammates to pick me up. That is what’s so great about this team."
In a career chock-full of stellar performances, Owen (19-5) had one of her best on Saturday. At the plate, she hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the fourth to give Stetson a 2-0 lead, then singled home TenBroeck with two outs and two strikes in the bottom of 10th to keep the game alive.
Owen's work in the circle was even more remarkable as she pitched out of second-and-third, no-out situations in both the 11th and 12th innings, and then she worked out of a second-and-third, one-out situation in the 13th. For the game, she held the Bisons to just 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position and 0-for-12 in two-out situations. She threw 157 pitches and allowed just one hit in extra innings, a bunt single.
"Honestly, all I could think about was all the hard work we put in all season long, in the off-season and in the weight room which prepared us for these moments," Owen said. "I just told my team, 'Don’t give up" and that was also me telling myself, 'Don’t give up.'”
Anderson (17-4) also pitched out of several jams for Lipscomb, including a bases-loaded situation in the seventh and a second-and-third, one-out scenario in the eighth. She threw 186 pitches and struck out 10.
TenBroeck and Owen each had three hits to lead the Hatters. Rena Cothron hit a solo home run for Lipscomb.
The game started at 10 a.m. and lasted three hours and five minutes.
The series victory gives the Stetson a head-to-head advantage over Lipscomb should the two teams finish tied in the standings. The Hatters can assure themselves of the no. 2 seed for the conference tournament with three or more wins in their final six A-Sun games.
Stetson visits UCF at 6 p.m. Tuesday night.
Notes: Meredith Owen has taken over the NCAA lead for lowest ERA (0.73) ... Stetson's school-record for longest game is 15 innings, set twice against Florida Atlantic in conference tournament tournament play (no international tiebreak) ... Previously the longest games at Patricia Wilson Field lasted 11 innings.