Down by a run in the top of the seventh inning, Stetson head coach Frank Griffin instructed pinch-hitter Morgan Hatch to swing for the fence.
The Hatter freshman promptly delivered a game-tying home run, but USC Upstate answered with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Stetson 6-4 Sunday afternoon at Cyrill Stadium.
The Spartans (32-3, 13-1 A-Sun) completed a three-game sweep in the Atlantic Sun Conference series over the Hatters (20-16, 3-9 A-Sun).
"I feel good about the way we played," Griffin said. "Both teams played well. (Upstate) hit a couple long balls that hurt us, but we got back in the game at the end. What can I say, we played well but lost."
After getting shutout twice Saturday, the Hatters came out aggressive against Spartan's starter Hannah Alexander on Sunday, scoring three times in the top of the first. Chrissy Morello plated Brittany Hawn with a double to leftcenter field, and Meredith Owen and Courtney Brandt each recorded RBI singles to give Stetson an early lead.
Jamie Ujvari relieved Alexander after just a third of an inning.
The Spartans answered with a run in their half of the first, but Owen pitched out of further trouble in each of the first four innings.
The Spartans grabbed the lead in the fifth, however, when Cheyenne Griffin hit a three-run home run to left.
"They are a veteran ballclub and they swing the bat, so just to go out there and compete with them you are doing well," Frank Griffin said about the Spartans.
The Hatters were down to their final three outs when Griffin brought Hatch off the bench to pinch hit.
"I freed her up," Griffin said about Hatch. "I told her to go up there and swing away. If she didn't hit it, it would be my fault, and if she hit it over the fence, it would be my fault, too."
Hatch did swing away and on a 0-1 pitch lined one over the left field fence to tie the game 4-4. It was her first career home run.
"I give props to coach Griffin," Upstate head coach Chris Hawkins said. "He put (Hatch) in to hit a home run, and she hit a home run. It was a great substitution."
Dana Landers spoiled the Hatters' comeback hopes with a two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh inning.
The Hatters will return to action with a doubleheader at Jacksonville at 5 p.m. on Wednesday. The games will be broadcast on ASun.TV.
Notes: Stetson's three-run first inning was the most first inning runs surrendered by USC Upstate this season ... Stetson's last pinch-hit home run came on Feb. 26, 2011, a grand slam by Rachel Lowe vs. Charleston Southern ... Meredith Owen made her 60th career start, tying Blake Hoorelbeke for the eighth-most starts in school history ... Right-fielder Courtney Brandt made a diving catch in foul territory in the bottom of the third inning, but tore her pants in the process.