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Courtney Brandt circles the bases after her second-inning home run in game one.
by: David S. Williams
Softball Sweeps FGCU to Extend Win Streak to 10
Courtesy: Stetson University  
Release:  03/30/2014
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Over the past two weeks, Stetson had slugged its way to several high-scoring victories which helped the team build an eight-game winning streak.

On Sunday, pitching and defense took center stage as the Hatters defeated Florida Gulf Coast 4-1 and 2-1 to complete a three-game Atlantic Sun Conference series sweep in front of a standing-room only crowd at Patricia Wilson Field.

Sarah Read (9-1) and Meredith Owen combined on a six-hitter in game one and Courtney Brandt (2-0) tossed a complete game two-hitter in game two as the Hatters (25-5, 9-2 A-Sun) extended their win streak to 10.

"I thought we did a great job," Stetson head coach Frank Griffin said.  "We had two one-run ball games this weekend, and I love winning one-run ball games.  The kids kept their composure, they did what they needed to defensively, the pitchers did what they needed to, and we scored enough runs.  It was a good sweep."

Brandt hit a solo home run in game one, her sixth home run in the past seven games, and then took her talents to the circle for game two.  After surrendering a lead-off single to Jessica Barnes, Brandt allowed just one more hit the rest of the way, a one-out single in the top of the sixth.  She walked just one and struck out three en route to her first complete game of the season.

"It was huge," Griffin said about Brandt's complete game effort.  "It allowed us to save both Sarah and Meredith, and gives them extra time to rest, not to mention it was good for Courtney's confidence.  She was in control, and she is smart enough to know it is better to pitch ahead in the count than behind."

Defensively the Hatters made several great plays in the doubleheader.  Chrissy Morello pulled in six fly balls, including one deep in rightcenter field in the fourth inning of game one.  Amanda Grimaldo made a diving catch behind third base in game two, and Brandt herself snared two line drives headed back through the middle.

"It was just reaction," Brandt joked about her two web gems.  "Our defense was super tight.  Chrissy did an awesome job of tracking balls down, Snoop (Grimaldo) did a great job at shortstop getting to some of those balls, and everyone did an awesome job."

Owen's two-run home run in the bottom of the first inning would be all the offense Stetson would need in game two.  Brandt and the Hatters' defense did the rest.

"Courtney did a fantastic job, I am so proud of her," Morello said.

In addition to Brandt's home run in game one, Meza registered an RBI double and Jessica Griffin collected a run-scoring single to lead the offense.  Morello was 3-for-3 at the plate with a run scored.

Read worked the first four innings, allowing one unearned run on five hits.  Owen pitched the final three innings for her second save.

The Hatters have won 10 in a row for the first time since 2010.  They sit in second place in the conference standings heading into next week's series at Northern Kentucky.

Notes: Courtney Brandt won her 21st career game on the same day she hit her 21st career home run ... Meredith Owen hit career home run number 27 ... Stetson improved to 19-2 at home ... Jessie TenBroeck extended her hitting streak to 12 games.

Stetson Softball