The Stetson softball team split a conference doubleheader against Mercer on Saturday afternoon at Patricia Wilson Field. The Hatters (18-11, 1-4) won the opener 8-4, and the Bears (19-15, 8-3) took game two by an identical 8-4 score.
Stetson scored seven runs in the third and fourth innings of game one to take a staggering advantage early against the Bears. Three straight singles by junior Chrissy Morello, freshman Jessica Griffin, and sophomore Demi Meza drove in the Hatters first two runs, and a sacrifice fly to center field by senior Jordan Cleghorn put Stetson up 3-0 after three.
The Hatters loaded the bases in the fourth thanks to a trio of walks by Mercer pitcher Julia Rice. Meza then got up to bat and drove in all three runners with a triple down the right field line, her first three-bagger of the season. Meza then came in to score on a sac fly by junior Meredith Owen, making it 7-0 in favor of Stetson.
The Bears were finally able to get to Stetson starter sophomore Courtney Brandt, scoring four runs in the top of the fifth. Mercer used a walk and a single to put runners on, before a two-run double, and a two-run homer cleared the bases and made it 7-4.
Owen, who relieved Brandt following the Mercer home run, secured the final out of the fifth, and then allowed just one hit in each of the sixth and seventh innings to get Stetson an 8-4 victory. It marked Owen’s third save of the season, and gave the Hatters their first league win.
In game two, Stetson got out to a quick start, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first. Freshman Brittany Hawn led off the frame with a single up the middle, and then came around to score the first run of the contest on a double by Morello. After Griffin walked, Owen recorded her sixth home run of the year to clear the bases and get Stetson out to an early 4-0 lead.
Unfortunately, that was all the offense the Hatters could muster in the back end of Saturday’s doubleheader. Mercer scored two runs in the second, three in the fourth, and three in the seventh, as the Bears went on to win game two by a score of 8-4.
Owen was handed just her fourth loss of the season in the circle (12-4), allowing six earned runs on 13 hits. She struck out five batters and walked none, pitching all seven innings. Mercer’s Kerri Nidiffer improved to 9-8 with the victory after allowing just the four first run innings in her complete game.
Morello and Owen each tallied three hits on the day, while Owen and Meza led the Hatters with four runs batted in apiece. Hawn and Morello both scored three times on the day.
Stetson and Mercer will finish the three-game series on Sunday. The Hatters and the Bears are scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. at Patricia Wilson Field.