Nashville, Tenn. -- There are shutouts that come easy, and shutouts that you have to work for.
Stetson's 2-0 victory over Lipscomb Thursday in the second round of the Atlantic Sun Conference Championship certainly fell into the latter category.
Meredith Owen battled her way through seven scoreless innings and Jessica Griffin and Amanda Grimaldo each drove in runs as Stetson (36-12) advanced to Friday's semifinal round against Mercer, who upset top-seeded USC Upstate 4-3. First pitch at Draper Diamond is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time.
Owen (24-7) scattered six hits and struck out seven en route to her ninth shutout of the year. However, Lipscomb put runners on base in every inning except the third, forcing Owen to work through several tense situations.
"Meredith was fantastic, as usual," associate head coach Vanessa Bataille said. "She was very composed on the mound and she and Jessica did a good job of keeping their hitters off-balance. She stayed low in the zone, came up (in the zone) when she had to and just got outs."
Stetson took advantage of some first-inning control issues from Lipscomb starter Ashley Anderson. With runners at first and second and two outs, Anderson walked Kayla Drury on four pitches, then did the same to Griffin to force in a run.
"During Kayla's at-bat, you could tell (Anderson) was struggling and you could tell she was getting frustrated with the strike zone," Griffin said. "Just seeing that set the tone for me to go up there and be patient."
Stetson added a key insurance run in the top of the fifth inning. After a hit and two walks loaded the bases, Grimaldo hit a clutch, two-strike sacrifice fly to left field to bring in Demi Meza with the second run of the game.
Owen pitched around a one-out single in the bottom of the fifth and a lead-off hit in the sixth. The Bisons (39-12) then brought the winning run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, but Courtney Brandt chased down Brittany Elmore's fly ball to left field to seal the victory.
"I just have to give credit to my team because they backed me up consistently," Owen said. "They made me feel like they had my back which gave me the confidence to just go in and throw strikes, and I knew they would make the plays for me."
Third baseman Brittany Hawn led the defense with four putouts and three assists. She has now converted 90 consecutive chances without an error.
Chrissy Morello had two of the Hatters six hits on the day, including the 200th of her career. She is just the fifth player in school history to reach that milestone.
"I thought it was two of the best pitchers in the conference battling it out," Stetson head coach Frank Griffin said. "In that first inning, we were able to take advantage of the fact that (Anderson) wasn't quite on her game. Later on we put some more hits together and it worked out for another run. Our defense and pitching got the job done."
Notes: Stetson advanced to the A-Sun semifinals for the second time in the last three years ... Owen picked up her 68th career win, tying her for fourth all-time in school history. It was also her 23rd career shutout, tying her for fifth in school history ... Morello became the first Hatter to collect 200 hits since Amy Joyce (Krazeise) in 2007-10 (210) ... Stetson has committed just one error in the last six games (.994 fielding pct.).