DeLand, Fla. - The Stetson softball team (12-10) split on opening day of the Stetson Classic at Patricia Wilson Field on Friday, run-ruling Jackson State 10-2 in five innings before dropping a heartbreaking 3-2 walkoff loss to Iowa in the nightcap. Sophomore catcher Jordan Cleghorn (Ball Ground, Ga.) went three for five on the day with her first home run of the season.
STETSON 10, JACKSON STATE 2 (5 INNINGS)
Although the Lady Tigers took a 1-0 lead on designated player Anesha McClendon's first inning RBI double, the Hatters soon tied it on senior third baseman Jill Semento's (Umatilla, Fla.) bottom of the first RBI single. After starter Breea Jamerson was lifted without recording an out, JSU relief pitcher Nicole O'Grady uncorked a two-out wild pitch that plated the go-ahead run.
A two-out Stetson rally in the third was sparked by a single and a walk, setting the stage for freshman center fielder Chrissy Morello (Ormond Beach, Fla.) to smack a double over the head of the drawn in outfield and put the Hatters ahead 4-1. McClendon hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth to draw Jackson State within two, but a six-run Stetson outburst in the bottom of the fourth put the outcome out of reach. Sophomore pitcher Camille Czarnecki (Edmonton, Alta.) had an RBI double and sophomore second baseman Alyssa Oddo (Covina, Calif.) an RBI single before a Lady Tiger dropped pop-up with two outs extended the inning. Junior shortstop Chelsey Trotto (Lantana, Fla.) made JSU pay dearly with a bases-loaded triple into the right field corner, scoring three more runs and putting the Hatters in position to end the game early via the eight-run rule.
Czarnecki picked up her seventh win of the season with two strikeouts and two runs allowed on six hits and a walk. Cleghorn and Morello had two hits apiece with the latter stealing her 12th and 13th bases of the season.
IOWA 3, STETSON 2
Freshman pitcher Meredith Owen (Jackson, Miss.) put up a tough fight all night against the Big Ten power Hawkeyes, striking out six in 6.1 innings and allowing just three runs on eight hits and a walk. Iowa shortstop Chelsea Carmody hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning to start the scoring, but Stetson would respond in the fifth with a leadoff home run off the bat of Cleghorn over the left field wall and an RBI single from Trotto to tie it 2-2.
Unfortunately for the Hatters, they would leave the bases loaded in the top of the fifth and then squander a bases-loaded, one out situation in the sixth without plating any more runs. Iowa made those mistakes have lethal consequences in the bottom of the seventh when center fielder Ashley Akers singled with one out, stole second and then scored on a line drive single from second baseman Katie Keim to give the Hawkeyes a 3-2 walkoff victory. Chelsea Lyon was perfect in 1.1 innings of relief to earn the win in the circle.
Oddo and senior designated player Katelyn Perna (St. Petersburg, Fla.) had two hits for the Hatters against Iowa; Keim and Carmody recorded two-hit nights for the Hawkeyes. All four teams in the Stetson Classic went 1-1 on the day as Jackson State slipped past Liberty 7-6 on a walk-off hit by pitch while Liberty held down Iowa for a 3-1 win in the two early games.
The Stetson Classic continues Saturday with Iowa-Liberty at 11 a.m., JSU-Iowa at 1:30 p.m., Liberty-Stetson at 4 p.m. and Stetson-JSU at 6:30 p.m. Live Stats and Hatter Vision are available at GoHatters.com, the official online home of Stetson Athletics.
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