DeLand, Fla. - Senior third baseman Jill Semento (Umatilla, Fla.) hit a two-run home run in game one and freshman pitcher Meredith Owen (Jackson, Miss.) fired a two-hit shutout in game two as the Stetson softball team recorded a pair of victories, 2-0 over Elon and 3-0 over Tennessee State in the Stetson Invitational Saturday at Patricia Wilson Field. The Hatters (9-8) advance to Sunday's championship game and will face Binghampton (2-1) at noon. Elon and Tennessee State will play the consolation game at 10 a.m. Stetson has not allowed a run nor committed an error in any of the past three games. The Hatters are over the .500 mark for the first time this season.
STETSON 2, ELON 0
For the second straight game, Stetson found itself locked in a pitcher's duel as neither team mustered any offense through the first five innings. Stetson sophomore starting pitcher Courtney Gunby (Bishop, Ga.) allowed just three hits through the first 5.2 innings but issued back-to-back walks with two outs in the sixth. That brought sophomore Camille Czarnecki (Edmonton, Alta.) into the game to face Erin O'Shea, who popped out to second, although sophomore second baseman Alyssa Oddo (Covina, Calif.) had to quickly make a basket catch after the ball initially popped out of her glove.
O'Shea, Elon's starting pitcher, was equally impressive in the circle as she struck out six of the first eight batters she faced. The Hatters only had two runners reach base until the bottom of the sixth, when freshman center fielder Chrissy Morello (Ormond Beach, Fla.) singled with one out and stole second with two outs. Semento then ripped a 2-0 pitch over the left field fence to give Stetson a 2-0 lead on her first home run of the season.
The Phoenix threatened once again in the top of seventh inning, loading the bases with no outs, but Stetson's defense made three big plays in a row to preserve the victory. Oddo made the first play by ranging to her left for a Hannah Shelton grounder, then firing home to get the force for out number one. Czarnecki then made a brilliant stab on a hard hit grounder up the middle by Tomeka Watson and again threw home for another force play. Pinch-hitter Kaitlyn Piazzola then lifted a soft line drive towards short right field where Oddo made a running catch to close out the win.
STETSON 3, TENNESSEE STATE 0
Owen had her finest outing as a Hatter, striking out a career-high nine batters while allowing just two infield singles. She retired nine batters in a row during one stretch and did not see a ball hit out of the infield all game.
"(Associate Head Coach) Vanessa Bataille spent a lot of time with the pitchers this past week focusing on keeping the ball down in the zone," head coach Frank Griffin said. "We had been missing up in the zone and as a result we were seeing a lot of home runs hit against us, but we kept the ball low today and that led to a lot of grounders. Trotto was phenomenal at short, as were the other infielders. I'm really pleased with the improvement of the pitching staff." Junior shortstop Chelsey Trotto (Lantana, Fla.) and Oddo provided the offense. Trotto singled home a pair of runs in the top of the fifth inning, and Oddo hit a solo home run in the top of the sixth to cap the scoring. Oddo's home run was the first of her career.
The Hatters host Binghamton at noon Sunday to close out the Stetson Invitational at Patricia Wilson Field. Live Stats and Hatter Vision are available at GoHatters.com.
FACEBOOK - Stetson Athletics; TWITTER - @StetsonSID; YOUTUBE - StetsonHatters