DELAND, Fla. – Meredith Owen picked up her second win in two days and Brittany Hawn doubled home the go-ahead run as the Stetson University softball team defeated USC Upstate 8-5, Wednesday afternoon at Patricia Wilson Field.
The Hatters, now 14-4 and 2-1 in conference play took the rubber game of the three game set after splitting a double header with the Spartans on Tuesday.
Owen (7-2) started the game as the designated player, but entered the circle in the second inning after Upstate jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead. Owen held Spartan batters at bay in the second and third, until it was her turn to put some Stetson runs on the board. The senior smacked a two run homer over the left field fence, making it 3-2 Upstate. The long ball was her team leading seventh of the season.
The Hatter rally was not finished as a Jessica Griffin walk and a Courtney Brandt single set the stage for third baseman Brittany Hawn. Hawn came up to the plate with runners on first and second and two outs, and continued Stetson’s recent two-out rally success, lacing a double to the left field fence, which put her team up 4-3.
The Spartans came close to regaining the lead the very next inning, as they loaded the bases on three singles. Owen navigated herself well through the jam, thanks to an athletic catch by second baseman Demi Meza, with her back turned to the infield. Meza’s catch prevented the ball from dropping into shallow center for a single and a sure run. Owen then recorded one of her two strike outs on the day to retire the Upstate side in the fourth.
The Hatters decided to give themselves some breathing room in the bottom of the inning as they put up another three runs on the board against Spartan pitching. Centerfielder Chrissy Morello started the rally with an infield single, but two USC errors and a walk loaded the bases for Amanda Grimaldo. The junior shortstop lined a single into center, scoring two and a Kayla Drury sacrifice fly two batters later, made it 8-3 Stetson heading into the fifth.
That is where the score stood as Owen cruised through the Spartan order in the fifth and sixth innings, giving them one more turn at bat in the seventh. Upstate did not go quietly though, as it plated a pair of runs in the seventh, but the senior hurler shut the door for good, with a strike out and a fly out to end the contest.
Three Stetson players had multiple hits on the day, with Owen, Grimaldo and Hawn each collecting a pair. The trio went a combined 6-11 with a double, a home run, two runs scored and seven RBI.
The loss dropped USC Upstate to 23-4 on the year and to 4-2 in A-Sun play, the Spartans were 3-0 coming into DeLand. Stetson has a few days off before hitting the road for their next conference test, a three game series with Mercer in Macon. The Hatters and Bears will play a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 15 and then wrap up the set on Sunday the 16th with a 1 p.m. contest.
POST GAME NOTES
--Meredith Owen’s home run was the 25th of her career, making her just third player in school history to reach that mark.
--Stetson has now started conference play 2-1 for the second time in three seasons.