DeLand, Fla. - The Stetson softball team (15-10) celebrated Strike Out Cancer Day at Patricia Wilson Field in style on Saturday, sweeping visiting Savannah State (11-18) 5-2 and 9-1 in a doubleheader. Sophomore pitcher/designated player Meredith Owen (Jackson, Miss.) earned a win and a save on the day and also belted her third home run of the season.
The Hatters honored survivors, fighters and victims of all forms of cancer throughout the day, including several moving testimonials written by Stetson softball players to their loved ones that have battled the disease.
STETSON 5, SAVANNAH STATE 2 (GAME 1)
The Hatters notched four runs in the bottom of the first inning of Game 1, aided in large part by sloppy Savannah State defense. SSU committed three errors in the first, including a throwing error on a bunt single by junior third baseman Jordan Cleghorn (Ball Ground, Ga.) that allowed three runs to score, including Cleghorn herself racing all the way around the bases before the ball could be retrieved from the left field corner.
The Lady Tigers plated two runs of their own on a two-out rally in the third, but a Stetson insurance run on another two-out SSU error in the bottom of the sixth was more than enough to finish the visitors off. Senior left fielder Brittany Knipp (Land O'Lakes, Fla.) had two base hits in the opener while sophomore center fielder Chrissy Morello (Ormond Beach, Fla.) swiped her 11th and 12th bases of the season.
Freshman pitcher Courtney Brandt (Dade City, Fla.) pitched the first four innings and struck out four to earn her seventh win of the year. Owen relieved her for the final three frames and held Savannah State scoreless on one hit with three strikeouts to earn her first career save.
STETSON 9, SAVANNAH STATE 1 (5 INN.) (GAME 2)
Although shortstop India Morgan put the Lady Tigers on top 1-0 in the top of the first with an RBI single, the Hatters would quickly tie the game and go on to score in every inning and win via the eight-run rule in five innings. Owen tied the game with an RBI single to right field in the bottom of the first and later drilled a solo shot to left center field with two out in the bottom of the fourth inning.
Stetson took the lead for good in the bottom of the second as yet another two-out error by SSU plated the go-ahead run and set the stage for senior shortstop Chelsey Trotto (Lantana, Fla.) to drive a two-run single up the middle for a 4-1 advantage. The Hatters would also get two-out RBI later in the ballgame from freshman catcher Allison Sutherlin (Huntsville, Ala.) and senior first baseman Carolyn Boyd (Germantown, Tenn.).
Brandt triggered the run-rule with a wind-blown RBI single to right field in the bottom of the fifth that plated Knipp for the 9-1 victory.
Owen struck out seven Lady Tigers in Game 2 for a total of 10 on the day, scattering one run on two hits with no walks in four innings for the victory. Brandt pitched the final frame and struck out two. Owen, Sutherlin and Trotto recorded multi-RBI games with Knipp and Cleghorn stealing bases; Cleghorn's stolen base was her first of the season.
Stetson will host Atlantic Sun Conference rival North Florida in a 4:00 pm Monday doubleheader at Patricia Wilson Field, marking the opening of the crucial 18-game A-Sun slate for the Hatters. Live Stats and Hatter Vision will be available at GoHatters.com.