The Long and Short of a Patriot softball sweep

The Long and Short of a Patriot softball sweep

FLORENCE, SC – Francis Marion University won both ends of its Saturday afternoon (April 18) Peach Belt Conference softball doubleheader with visiting Lander University in walk-off fashion, but under very different circumstances. 

FMU won the opener 9-1 after junior first baseman Shannan Lopez delivered a two-run double in the bottom of the fifth inning and secured the needed eight-run cushion to invoke the mercy rule.  The Patriots then completed the sweep with a 6-5 victory in 10 innings thanks to a walk-off RBI single to left field by sophomore center fielder Mikala Barnhart.

Francis Marion improves to 23-21 overall and 9-13 in the PBC and assumes a two-game cushion in the race for the final berth in next week's conference tournament.  FMU can clinch a berth with one win in its season-finale against USC Aiken.  The Patriots were to have to hosted the Pacers for a doubleheader on Sunday, but those contrests have been postponed until Monday or Tuesday at 4 p.m.

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Prior to Saturday's opening game, Francis Marion honored its four seniors: right-handed pitcher Katie Carnes, second baseman Taylor (TJ) Fain, third baseman Shelby Mathews, and utility player Chessie Miller.  All four contributed to Saturday's sweep, which drew a school record crowd of 464.

Carnes (9-5) pitched a complete game in the opener, allowing only one run on three hits with seven strikeouts.  She would later earn the game-two victory in relief.

Four Patriots registered multiple hits in game one: sophomore left fielder Briana Barzola, Barnhart, Lopez, and Mathews.  Miller walked twice and scored a run, while Fain scored one run and drove in another.

The Patriots scored three times in the third, once in the fourth, and five times in the fifth.  Lopez drove in three runs with a pair of doubles.

Lander junior right-hander Amanda Chastain (4-13) was tagged with the loss as she surrendered three runs on four hits in 2.2 innings of work.  Freshman center fielder Casey Wooten registered a pair of bunt singles and scored the lone Bearcat run on an RBI single by right fielder Emily Marousek.

In the second contest, Francis Marion led 5-0 after three frames and looked to be cruising to an easy victory.  However, Lander rallied for three runs in the sixth and two in the seventh to knot the contest at 5-5 and force extra innings.

FMU tallied three runs in the bottom of the first, helped by three walks and two Lander errors. Sophomore designated player Danielle Myers drove in the first run with a bases-loaded walk and junior catcher Taylor Barrineau followed with a two-run single off the left centerfield fence.

In the third, the advantage expanded to 5-0 freshman right fielder Tori Gaskins walked with the bases loaded and Fain was hit by a pitch, also with the bases loaded.

Barzola and Barnhart had their second two-hit game of the day, while Barrineau was 2-for-5.

After Lander trimmed the margin to 5-3 in the sixth – the big hit a two-run single up the middle by shortstop Casey Kent – the Bearcats tied it on an unusual sacrifice fly in the seventh.  The fly ball by Marousek was to Gaskins in medium right field.  Her throw home arrived at the same time as the first runner and the ball escaped past Barrineau and to the backstop allowing a second runner to cross home plate.

In the 10th inning, Barzola slapped a single to third with one out.  On the play, the throw to first was high and sailed into the right field corner allowing the speedy Barzola to scoot to third base. On the next pitch, Barnhart dropped a flare into shallow left and after colliding with the catcher, Barzola crawled and tagged home plate with the winning run.

Carnes took over for FMU starter Kaitlin Munda in the eighth and tossed three scoreless innings, retiring nine of the 10 batters she faced.  Munda allowed the five runs (four earned) on nine hits and finished with three strikeouts.

Wooten had a pair of hits in game two as well.  Freshman righty Hannah Newton (8-15) took the hard-luck as she threw 183 pitches in a complete-game effort.  She allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits, while fanning seven and walking nine.

Lander concludes its season at 12-28 overall and 6-18 in the Peach Belt.   

 

Francis Marion Univ. 9, Lander University 1 (Apr 18, 2015 at Florence, SC) (Game 1)
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Lander University...   000 01 -  1  3  3      (12-27, 6-17 PBC)
Francis Marion Univ. 003 15 -  9 10  0      (22-21, 8-13 PBC)
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Pitchers: Lander University - Amanda Chastain; Hannah Newton(3) and Melanie Davis.
Francis Marion Univ. - Katie Carnes and Taylor Barrineau.
Win-Katie Carnes(8-5)  Loss-Amanda Chastain(4-13)  T-2:05  A-0
Weather: Overcast,75,Winds ESE @ 5 mph

 

Francis Marion Univ. 6, Lander University 5 (Apr 18, 2015 at Florence, SC) (Game 2)
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Lander University...   000 003 200 0 -  5  9  6      (12-28, 6-18 PBC)
Francis Marion Univ. 302 000 000 1 -  6  8  3      (23-21, 9-13 PBC)
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Pitchers: Lander University - Hannah Newton and Melanie Davis; Casey Kent.
Francis Marion Univ. - Kaitlin Munda; Katie Carnes(8) and Taylor Barrineau.
Win-Katie Carnes(9-5)  Loss-Hannah Newton(8-15)  T-3:56  A-464
Weather: Partly Cloudy,77,Wind ESE @ 7