Buies Creek, N.C. - A recent string of bad luck in one-run games continued Tuesday for the Stetson softball team (14-17, 0-2 Atlantic Sun) as it dropped 2-1 and 8-7 contests at A-Sun rival Campbell (18-17, 4-2 A-Sun) in its conference-opening doubleheader. Freshman center fielder Chrissy Morello (Ormond Beach, Fla.) batted .750 on the day and hit her first career home run; junior shortstop Chelsey Trotto (Lantana, Fla.) tied a school record with five base hits in Game 2.
GAME 1 - CAMPBELL 2, STETSON 1
Stetson freshman Meredith Owen (Jackson, Miss.) and Campbell's Christina Melton locked horns in an excellent pitching duel. The Hatters scored their run in the top of the third when Morello singled with two out, stole second and then scored on an RBI double by Trotto.
The Camels struck back in the bottom of the fourth when catcher Taylor McGee tied the game with a one-out solo home run. The next batter singled and second baseman Sarah Forgacs followed with an RBI double to give her team a 2-1 lead it would not relinquish. Stetson loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the seventh on an infield single and back-to-back hit batters, but Campbell reliever Katie Woodcock proceeded to get a strikeout, a "runner left early" call and another strikeout to end the ballgame.
Melton struck out nine batters in six innings to earn the win while Woodcock earned her sixth save of the season. Owen fanned six in a complete game effort, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk in the process. Morello went three for three with a run scored and her 18th stolen base of the year; she ranks second in the nation among freshmen in that category.
GAME 2 - CAMPBELL 8, STETSON 7
The opener may have been a low-scoring affair, but the nightcap turned into a slugfest as the Hatters and Camels combined for 15 runs on 27 hits; Stetson out-hit Campbell 16-11 in a losing effort. Trotto went five for five with an RBI and a stolen base while Morello recorded her second straight three-hit game, driving in three runs as well. Junior left fielder Brittany Knipp (Land O'Lakes, Fla.) went three for four with a double and scored three times.
The Camels jumped out to a 6-1 lead after four innings as third baseman Keeli Michael and center fielder Katie Hinton hit back-to-back home runs off two different Stetson pitchers to cap that scoring burst. The Hatters would not go down quietly, however, scoring six runs in their final three turns at bat.
Knipp led off the top of the fifth with a double, setting the stage for Morello to drive an 0-1 Woodcock pitch over the right center field fence for her first career home run to cut the deficit to 6-3. An error, a bases-loaded HBP and two RBI singles scored Stetson's remaining runs, but the Camels stayed one step ahead the whole way. Katie Andrews had a pinch-hit RBI single in the bottom of the fifth for Campbell that scored the eighth and game-winning run.
Sophomore Courtney Gunby (Bishop, Ga.) took the loss in Game 2 for Stetson while Woodcock earned the win and Brittany Arnn her first save for Campbell. Four different Camels had two-hit games while sophomore right fielder Chelsea Whalley (Calgary, Alta.) was the fourth Hatter to have two base hits.
Stetson has lost six straight and has suffered heartbreak in all of them as five have been by one run and the other by a two-run margin. The Hatters will try to turn their luck around when A-Sun action resumes with a 1 p.m. Saturday doubleheader at Kennesaw State. Fans will need to purchase an ASun.TV subscription to watch the Stetson-KSU games but a link to Live Stats will be free at GoHatters.com.