DeLand, Fla. - Sophomore pitcher Meredith Owen (Jackson, Miss.) delivered a walk-off RBI single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh to lead the Stetson softball team to a 3-2 win over visiting FGCU in the opener of an Atlantic Sun Conference doubleheader Saturday at Patricia Wilson Field. The Eagles took the nightcap 7-0 as the Hatters move to 17-12 overall and 2-2 in A-Sun play. Stetson's defense turned five double plays in the twinbill, which also contained a three-hour rain delay during Game 1.
STETSON 3, FGCU 2 (GAME 1)
FGCU third baseman Kirsten Bembnowski broke a scoreless tie with an RBI single in the top of the third inning that proved to be the only run against Owen and in the ballgame before an incoming storm cell caused a three-hour rain delay during the top of the fifth.
When play eventually resumed at 5:00 pm, the Hatters jumped right back into the ballgame. Senior shortstop Chelsey Trotto (Lantana, Fla.) connected on a two-out solo home run to left in the bottom of the frame to tie the game; following an Owen double, freshman designated player Courtney Brandt (Dade City, Fla.) chopped a single through the left side of the infield that scored freshman pinch runner Kandi Kuder (Newbury Park, Calif.) from second to put Stetson up 2-1.
That score seemed sufficient to put the Eagles away, but catcher Chelsea Zgrabik extended the ballgame with a two-out, game-tying solo home run in the top of the seventh. Stetson made two outs to start the bottom of the seventh, but Trotto singled through the left side to set the stage for Owen to get her winning pitcher status back. She slammed a 1-2 pitch from Amanda Josie deep to center field and up against the wall as Trotto scored all the way from first base with the winning run.
Owen allowed two runs on eight hits and four walks in seven innings to earn her ninth win of the season; she struck out three and went two for three at the plate as well. Trotto's home run was her fifth of the season while sophomore center fielder Chrissy Morello (Ormond Beach, Fla.) registered her team-leading 13th stolen base. Double plays were turned by junior right fielder Chelsea Whalley (Calgary, Alta.), who caught a fly ball and threw a runner out at third to end the top of the first, and the Owen-to-Trotto-to senior first baseman Carolyn Boyd (Germantown, Tenn.) connection on a comebacker to end the sixth.
Zgrabik finished with three hits for FGCU. Josie took the loss in two-thirds of a relief inning; Shelby Morgan struck out three in six innings to start the ballgame for the Eagles.
FGCU 7, STETSON 0 (GAME 2)
Josie came back to toss a five-hit shutout in the nightcap, taking advantage of home runs by Emily Lanier and Zgrabik for a 7-0 victory. Josie's defense did the work behind her, offsetting her lack of a single strikeout with a pair of double plays to erase Stetson threats. The Eagles scored single runs in the first, second and fifth innings and put an exclamation point on the affair with Zgrabik's grand slam in the top of the seventh.
Freshman pitcher Taylor Cochran (Auburndale, Fla.) made her first career appearance for the Hatters, tossing a scoreless seventh inning with one strikeout. Brandt took the loss, striking out four, while Morello had two base hits to lead Stetson's offense.
The Hatters turned three more double plays in Game 2, two on infield grounders and one when freshman third baseman Demi Meza (Oxnard, Calif.) snared a line drive and threw to Boyd to double a runner off first base.
Stetson travels to Nashville, Tennessee next weekend for a pair of A-Sun doubleheaders. The Hatters visit Belmont's new facility, Rose Park, for the first time Friday at 1:00 pm ET (12:00 pm local CT) and take on Lipscomb at Draper Diamond at 3:00 pm ET (2:00 pm local CT) the following day. Live Stats will be linked at GoHatters.com if available; Saturday's matchups at Lipscomb are slated for broadcast at ASun.TV.
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