Johnson City, Tenn. - Sophomore pitcher Meredith Owen (Jackson, Miss.) posted a four-hit shutout in Game 1 of Saturday afternoon's Atlantic Sun Conference doubleheader at ETSU and was backed up by two home runs in a 5-0 victory, but the Stetson softball team could not keep the Lady Bucs winless in league play, falling 3-1 in the nightcap. The Hatters are now 22-17 overall and 7-7 in A-Sun play while ETSU moves to 11-30 (1-13 A-Sun).
STETSON 5, ETSU 0 - GAME 1
Freshman designated player Courtney Brandt (Dade City, Fla.) delivered a two-out RBI single in the top of the first to give Owen the only run support she would need in the opener. Owen struck out three in a complete game shutout, carrying a perfect game into the sixth inning and not allowing a hit through five and two-thirds.
Brandt hit a solo home run to left field with two out in the top of the fifth to extend the lead to 2-0 and freshman third baseman Demi Meza (Oxnard, Calif.) put an exclamation point on the win with a two-out three-run home run in the sixth inning to make it 5-0 Stetson. The Lady Bucs loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh but Owen froze Amy Campbell on a 2-2 pitch to end the ballgame.
Brandt's home run was her team-high seventh of the year and gives her the most homers by a Stetson rookie since Melissa Wiggins '06 set the program freshman record with nine longballs in 2003. Meza's homer was her second of the season. Senior shortstop Chelsey Trotto (Lantana, Fla.) went three for four with a double, her fifth of the year. Shelby Morris took the loss for ETSU in the circle in a complete game effort.
ETSU 3, STETSON 1 - GAME 2
The Hatters missed a major opportunity to gain ground in the race for one of the six A-Sun tournament spots by dropping the nightcap, allowing ETSU to win a conference game for the first time in 14 tries in 2012. Stetson stranded nine runners and fell 3-1 despite out-hitting the Lady Bucs by a 9-4 margin.
Small ball scored ETSU's first run in the bottom of the fifth as shortstop Sam Lower laid down an RBI sacrifice bunt, scoring pinch runner Sade Johnson ahead of the throw home. Following a double, center fielder Annie Martin delivered key insurance runs with a two-run single to right center.
ETSU pitcher Katie Wolff shut Stetson out until the seventh inning when a throwing error allowed senior left fielder Brittany Knipp (Land O'Lakes, Fla.), who had drawn a leadoff walk, to score from third. Although the Hatters brought the tying run to the plate or put it on base several times in the seventh, they could not get the big hit they needed off Wolff.
Owen, junior catcher Jordan Cleghorn (Ball Ground, Ga.) and sophomore center fielder Chrissy Morello (Ormond Beach, Fla.) finished with two hits apiece in Game 2 for Stetson; Morello stole two more bases to reach 19 for the year and crack the all-time Stetson top 10 career steals list with 47 in less than two seasons.
Stetson concludes its A-Sun road schedule tomorrow at 1:00 pm in Spartanburg, South Carolina with a doubleheader at USC Upstate. Live Stats are linked at GoHatters.com; fans can also watch the games at ASun.TV.
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