Meredith Owen pitched a pair of three-hit shutouts and hit her team-leading ninth home run of the year as Stetson swept ETSU in an Atlantic Sun Conference doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Patricia Wilson Field.
The Hatters (27-18, 10-11 A-Sun) defeated the Bucs (12-31, 0-21) 2-0 and 3-0 to move past Mercer and into seventh place in the league standings, and just one game back of sixth-place Jacksonville.
"I thought we got exceptional defense and pitching, and just enough offense to win," Stetson head coach Frank Griffin said.
Stetson managed just five runs and nine hits in the doubleheader, but Owen was stingy once again in the circle. The Hatter junior scattered six hits over 14 innings, striking out 12 batters without allowing a walk.
"It's really exciting to get these two wins, especially with the weather," Owen said. "We are trying to get as many games in as possible and just get some wins. It was a really good morale boost for the team."
Owen has occasionally been called on to pitch both ends of a doubleheader, but Saturday she and the teams had to wait out a 90-minute rain delay between the two games. Owen said she has also been battling a sinus infection.
"(The delay) gave my antibiotics a chance to kick in, but it also tightens up your body," Owen said about the extended time between games. "We had to make sure we got warm, but once we got warm we were pretty good."
Griffin said he did not necessarily intend to have Owen pitch all seven innings in game two.
"I was planning to let her go as far as she could," Griffin said. "She said she would let me know when she had had enough, and she never said anything. Fortunately she was able to keep her pitch count down reasonably well, so she didn't have to throw an exceptional number of pitches today."
Owen threw 164 pitches on the day, exactly 82 pitches in each game. In her last six starts Owen is 6-0 with a 0.68 ERA and three shutouts.
Did we mention she can also hit?
Owen smashed an RBI single in game one and a two-run home run in game two to account for three of the team's five runs offensively. She leads the team with nine home runs and 31 RBI on the season.
Demi Meza added an RBI double in game one and Chrissy Morello hit her first home run of the season in game two.
"It was great to get the two wins today, it was good for our morale," Morello said. "We just need to come back and get the one tomorrow."
Both teams played extremely well defensively throughout both games. ETSU rightfielder Bethany Cowart robbed Jessica Griffin of a home run in game two, and Jordan Clegorn made a diving catch on a line drive off the bat of Nicole Fox late in game one.
"We were playing slap defense, so I had a little more time to react to the ball," Cleghorn said. "I just gave it my all."
"Jordan saved my (rear)," Owen said. "That was a fat pitch and she read it perfect and made an awesome catch. I was really proud of her, especially for today being senior day."
"Jordan had an exceptional day with the glove," Griffin said, also referencing a few picks she made on some low throws to first.
The teams will play the series finale Sunday at 1 p.m.