DeLand, Fla. - Senior designated player Rachel Lowe (Okeechobee, Fla.) and senior third baseman Jill Semento (Umatilla, Fla.) hit two home runs each as the Stetson softball team (16-21, 2-6 Atlantic Sun) split a doubleheader with visiting ETSU (14-22, 3-7 A-Sun) at Patricia Wilson Field on Thursday. Lowe passed Katie Harrigan '02 into eighth place on the Stetson career home run list and now has 13 longballs in the last four seasons.
GAME 1 - ETSU 4, STETSON 3
Semento hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning off ETSU pitcher Jessica Duncan and junior shortstop Chelsey Trotto (Lantana, Fla.) had an RBI sacrifice fly in the second inning as the Hatters jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The Bucs came back with a run in the fourth, another in the fifth on an RBI groundout and two unearned runs in the top of the seventh.
Two Stetson errors in the inning allowed ETSU to tie while left fielder Tara Hartnett's RBI sacrifice fly put the visitors ahead 4-3. Duncan would shut Stetson down 1-2-3 in the bottom of the seventh to send the Hatters to their 10th loss in an 11-game span, eight of them by one run. Stetson surrendered a seventh-inning lead for the third time in its past five games.
Semento's home run was her fifth; Trotto added her 17th stolen base of the season. Freshman Meredith Owen (Jackson, Miss.) allowed just one earned run in seven innings with five strikeouts but was yet again tagged with the hard-luck loss.
GAME 2 - STETSON 6, ETSU 5
What looked like an easy win for the Hatters after six runs in the first two innings became anything but that as ETSU scored three runs in the seventh inning before stranding the tying run on third base to end the game. In the end, sophomore pitcher Camille Czarnecki (Edmonton, Alta.) won her ninth game of the season and sophomore Courtney Gunby (Bishop, Ga.) picked up the save for the second time this year and third time in her career. Gunby moved into a tie for third on the all-time Stetson saves list and is already just two shy of tying the record held by Blake Hoorelbeke '04.
Lowe got Stetson started with a two-out, two-run home run off the scoreboard against Bucs starter Shelby Morris in the bottom of the first; the Hatters would plate four more in the second inning. Following a hit batter, a walk and a pair of stolen bases, Semento came up with two out and blasted a Morris pitch out to left field for a three-run shot, her sixth home run of the season and second of the day. Not to be outdone, Lowe immediately re-tied her classmate for the Stetson team lead with a long blast to left center that chased Morris from the ballgame and made it 6-0 Stetson.
The Hatters would not score again off relief pitcher Katie Woolf, allowing the visitors a chance to regroup and attack the lead. Back-to-back RBI singles by Amy Campbell and Katie Henderson in the third made it 6-2, but it would be the three runs in the seventh inning that nearly shocked the Hatters.
A leadoff error and walk prompted Head Coach Frank Griffin to put Gunby in the circle for Czarnecki; another error loaded the bases with nobody out. Henderson had an RBI fielder's choice to make it 6-3, but a strikeout put ETSU down to its final out. The Bucs still wouldn't stop fighting as shortstop Sam Lower and Woolf delivered consecutive RBI singles to cut the Stetson lead to 6-5 and leave the tying run on third. Gunby finally induced first baseman Arielle Garner to fly out to sophomore Chelsea Whalley (Calgary, Alta.) in right field for the game's final out. All three runs scored in the inning were unearned.
Sophomore catcher Jordan Cleghorn (Ball Ground, Ga.) joined Lowe in the two-hit category for Stetson; Lowe's multi-home run game was the first by a Hatter this season and the first since Jessica Lokeinsky '10 homered twice last April 17 at Belmont.
Stetson is back in action at 4 p.m. Saturday when it hosts a doubleheader against USC Upstate. Live Stats and Hatter Vision are available at GoHatters.com.
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