Meredith Owen pitched a five-hit shutout in game one and went 3-for-5 at the plate with a home run in game two to lead the Hatters (23-17, 6-10 A-Sun).
"I thought offensively we had a good day," Stetson head coach Frank Griffin said. "In the first game we played well defensively and got good pitching. In the second game we dug oursleves a hole but even so, we fought back and had an opportuinity to tie it in the sixth and seventh innings. We even had a chance to win it in the seventh, but it just didn't work out."
Stetson trailed 11-2 in game two after Kennesaw State tallied eight unearned runs in the top of the third inning. The Owls (27-15, 11-9) benefitted from three Stetson errors, two walks, and a three-run double by Kaylee Williams.
Facing a potential run-rule defeat in the bottom of the fifth, the Hatters rallied for five runs, three coming on a bases-loaded double by Courtney Brandt. Kayla Drury and Jessica Griffin also drove in runs.
Owen led off the sixth inning with her eighth home run of the year to pull Stetson within three. Stetson then loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh and was one swing away from pulling off the dramatic comeback, but Amanda Henderson nailed down the final two outs to preserve the win for the Owls.
All 11 KSU runs were charged to Brandt, though just three were earned. Taylor Cochran pitched 4.1 shutout innings of relief, allowing only two hits.
In game one, Morgan Hatch helped stake Stetson to a 4-0 lead with a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. It was her third home run in a span of four games.
Stetson added three runs in the third behind RBI singles from Owen and Brandt, and one more in the fourth on a wild pitch.
Owen kept the Owls scoreless through five innings to give Stetson the 8-0 run-rule victory. She scattered five hits, walked one and struck out two en route to her fifth shutout of the season.
Owen also finished the day 4-for-6 at the plate with three RBI, while Brandt went 3-for-6 with four RBI. Chrissy Morello recorded a pair of hits and extended her hit streak to nine.
The teams will play the series rubber game at 1 p.m. Sunday.