DeLand, Fla. – Junior pitcher Erica Demers (Miami, Fla.) and her classmate, first baseman Andrea Migliori (Winter Garden, Fla.) set the Stetson career shutout record and tied the Stetson career home run record, respectively, as the Hatters (40-22, 13-8 Atlantic Sun) concluded conference play with a doubleheader sweep of visiting Florida Gulf Coast tonight at Patricia Wilson Field. Game scores were 1-0 and 4-3.
The wins denied FGCU (48-16, 16-6 A-Sun) the outright A-Sun regular season title in its first year in the conference; the Eagles will have to settle for a three-way tie with Lipscomb and USC Upstate. The Hatters moved into fifth place overall in the league with the sweep and recorded their third consecutive 40-win season in the process. Stetson has won 40 or more games five times in the last seven years.
In Game 1, Demers recorded her 31st career shutout to break the record previously held by Erin Owens ’88. She took a no-hitter deep into the fifth inning before surrendering a two-out single to center fielder Jessica Gary. That hit left runners on second and third but Demers worked her way out of the jam to keep the game scoreless. Sophomore designated player Amanda Lindsey (Byhalia, Miss.) led off the bottom of the fifth for the Hatters by thumping a 1-0 pitch from Eagles righty Rachael Edinger over the left field fence for what would prove to be the only run of the ballgame.
FGCU had its chances to tie the game, including a seventh-inning rally that featured a single and a double to load the bases with two outs for national home run co-leader Carmen Paez. The senior left fielder, who has 22 home runs on the season and a whopping 51 in her two-year career, swung at the first pitch and flied out to sophomore center fielder Amy Joyce (Lake Mary, Fla.) to end the game.
Lindsey’s home run was one of only four hits in the game for Stetson, although that was enough for the win. Senior catcher Blythe Golden (Marianna, Fla.) had two hits while senior right fielder Amy Peters (Niceville, Fla.) stole her sixth base of the season. Demers scattered three hits and six walks while striking out three for her 18th win.
Edinger gave up just four hits and a walk in six innings with four strikeouts to take the hard-luck loss. Gary had two hits and right fielder Courtney Platt had a double.
The nightcap was a scoreless duel between Lindsey and FGCU freshman Morgan Campen until the top of the fifth, when the Eagles scored three runs with two out to take a 3-0 lead. Shortstop Jessica Paez beat out an RBI infield single, followed immediately by an RBI single from third baseman Cheyenne Jenks. Another run came in on that play on a Stetson error.
Stetson also utilized the two-out rally to tie the game in its next turn at bat. After a pair of groundouts to start the inning, Joyce beat out an infield hit and senior second baseman Nicole Forbes (Tampa, Fla.) followed with a hard-hit single up the middle. That brought Migliori to the plate as the tying run; the reigning Atlantic Sun Player of the Week crushed the first pitch she saw from Campen deep over the scoreboard in left center field, tying the game at three apiece.
The home run was the 20th of the season and 42nd of the career for the junior slugger, tying the record set by former teammate Melissa Wiggins ’06. Migliori is one of only four players in the nation, along with Paez, Angelena Mexicano (Illinois) and Steph Fischer (Tennessee Tech), to hit 20 home runs in 2008.
The Hatters won the game in the bottom of the seventh after leadoff singles from Forbes and Migliori put runners on the corners with nobody out. One batter later, Golden dropped a safety squeeze bunt and reached without a throw to load the bases. Junior left fielder Amanda Bailey (Destin, Fla.) then hit a hard grounder to shortstop; Forbes hustled down the line, forcing Jessica Paez to bobble the ball, and scored easily with the winning run. The victory ended an odd streak in which Stetson had picked up its last 10 victories via shutouts, including the opener tonight.
Forbes and Migliori had three hits apiece and Joyce also singled twice for the Hatters, who have won seven out of their last eight home games. Lindsey picked up the complete game victory, her 22nd of the season, by allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits and two walks. She struck out 10 Eagles.
Jessica Paez and Jenks collected two hits apiece to lead Florida Gulf Coast in its last game of the 2008 season, its first as a member of NCAA Division I and the Atlantic Sun Conference. Dana Frantz took the loss in relief of Campen; she gave up a single unearned run on four hits in 1.2 innings.
The Hatters close out the regular season Sunday at 3 p.m. when they host former A-Sun rival Florida Atlantic in a non-league contest. Stetson will honor its four seniors (Forbes, Golden, Peters and Lindsay Wightman) with a pre-game ceremony. Jamie Bataille, the Voice of Hatter Fastpitch, calls all the action; fans should log onto the official online home of Stetson Athletics, www.gohatters.com, for live video, audio and live stats.