Chiudina dingers help Patriots sweep Erskine

FLORENCE, SC – Junior third baseman Sam Chiudina belted a pair of home runs and drove in six runs to power Francis Marion University to a non-conference doubleheader sweep of Erskine College, Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 28) in softball action.  The Patriots prevailed 10-2 in five innings in game one and rallied for a 7-2 victory in the second contest.

The Patriots improve to 14-4 with their eighth straight win.  FMU will open Peach Belt Conference play on Saturday with a 1 p.m. home doubleheader against Lander University.

A sacrifice fly by Chiudina in the first inning of the opener gave the Patriots' a 1-0 advantage.  The Brewster, N.Y., native's three-run homer down the left field line highlighted a five-run second frame as FMU eventually took a 10-0 lead.

Freshman right-hander Sydney Holland (7-3) scattered five hits and allowed just one earned run while striking out seven.

Junior designated player Shania Domingue was the lone Patriot with multiple hits in game one as she finished 2-for-2 with two runs scored.  Sophomore first baseman Jennie Polak added a two-run single and scored twice.

Samantha Schmidt (1-4) was tagged with the game-one loss as she allowed all 10 runs (only five were earned) on seven hits.

In the nightcap, FMU took a 1-0 lead in the first frame after a two-out, run-scoring single to center by sophomore catcher Chelsea Welty.  FMU junior righty Samantha Wroblewski and Erskine righty Candace Fitch (4-2) were locked in a pitcher's duel as the score remained 1-0 until the top of the fifth.

Erskine took a 2-1 advantage in the fifth thanks to RBI singles by Kaitlyn Kerley and Brittany Rhinehardt.  The Patriots responded immediately by scoring five times in the bottom half of the frame.  With runners on first and second, senior left fielder Briana Barzola laid down a sacrifice bunt up the third base line.  The ball was fielded, but thrown wildly past third allowing both runners and Barzola to score.  Senior second baseman Taylor Brunson followed with a single and Chiudina upped the margin to 6-2 with a two-run shot over the left field fence.

FMU added an insurance tally in the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Barzola.  Barzola registered a hit in each game to extend her hitting streak to 15 games and she has now reached base safely in all 18 contests this year.

Chiudina, the reigning PBC Player of the Week, went 2-for-3 in game two.  She now stands second in the Peach Belt with 25 runs batted in.

FMU freshman right-hander Cristi Pressley (2-0) picked up the win in relief of Wroblewski.  She tossed 2.2 innings, allowing only a pair of singles with one walk and one strikeout.

Fitch registered a complete game, while fanning four and surrendering six earned runs.

Francis Marion Univ. 10, Erskine College 2 (Feb 28, 2017 at Florence, SC) (Game 1)
Erskine College.....    000 02 -  2  5  4      (6-7)
Francis Marion Univ. 152 2X - 10  7  3      (13-4)
Pitchers: Erskine College - Samantha Schmidt and Destiny Miller; Taylor Kennedy.
Francis Marion Univ. - Sydney Holland and Chelsea Welty.
Win-Sydney Holland(7-3)  Loss-Samantha Schmidt(1-4)  T-1:32  A-114
HR FMU_SB - Sam Chiudina (4).
Weather: Partly Sunny,78,Winds N @ 6mph


Francis Marion Univ. 7, Erskine College 2 (Feb 28, 2017 at Florence, SC) (Game 2)
Erskine College.....    000 020 0 -  2  6  2      (6-8)
Francis Marion Univ. 100 051 X -  7  7  0      (14-4)
Pitchers: Erskine College - Candace Fitch and Kaitlyn Kerley. Francis Marion Univ. -
Samantha Wroblewski; Cristi Pressley(5) and Chelsea Welty.
Win-Cristi Pressley(2-0)  Loss-Candace Fitch(4-2)  T-1:42
HR FMU_SB - Sam Chiudina (5).
Weather: Mostly clear,80,Winds SW @ 12