Holland blanks Crusaders as Patriots split twinbill

Holland blanks Crusaders as Patriots split twinbill

BELMONT, NC – Sophomore right-hander Sydney Holland rebounded from a short game-one start to toss a 5-hit shutout as Francis Marion University blanked Belmont Abbey College 2-0 to split Wednesday's (Feb. 21) non-conference women's softball doubleheader.  The Crusaders won the opener 7-6 in nine innings.

Francis Marion (8-4) will host the FMU Winter Wrangle event on Saturday and Sunday. The event will feature three games each day.  The Patriots will face Mars Hill University on Friday at 2 p.m. and UVA-Wise at 4 p.m.

Holland, who was knocked out of the opener in the second inning, came back in game two to record seven strikeouts with no walks to improve to 4-1.

Senior third baseman Sam Chiudina and junior right fielder Jaimie Harney both had two hits in the victory, while both junior shortstop Taylor Johnson and junior catcher Chelsea Welty had hits to extend their season-long hitting streaks to 12 games.

The Patriots broke up a scoreless deadlock with two runs in the sixth inning. With two outs, Jaimie Harney and freshman designated player Reece Davis both singled and moved up a bases on a double steal.  Junior second baseman Jennie Polak walked to load the bases and freshman center fielder Karson Parker was hit by a pitch from Ivorie Maltby (1-2) to force in the game's first run.  Johnson then reached on an RBI fielder's choice grounder to up the margin to 2-0.

In Wednesday's opener, Belmont Abbey took advantage of a trio of walks to plate six runs in the bottom of the second inning.  FMU answered back immediately with four runs in the top of third inning.  Chiudina plated the first run with a sacrifice fly and junior first baseman Jessica Harney followed with a three-run homer over the right field fence to draw the Patriots to within 6-4.

Francis Marion knotted the score in the fifth on a two-run single to center field by Polak, Both teams left two runners stranded on base in each half of the seventh frame before going to extra innings using the international tie-breaker rule.

FMU fought off defeat in the bottom of the eighth with an inning-ending double play, followed by Belmont Abbey escaping damage in the top of the ninth with a double play of its own.

The Crusaders (6-8) pushed across the winning run on a two-out single up the middle by shortstop Melissa Neyhouse in the bottom of the ninth.  It was Neyhouse's third hit of the contest.

Reece (4-2) took the hard-luck loss despite pitching seven innings in relief (of Holland) and allowing only two earned runs on seven hits. Chase Helms (3-2) earned the game-one win with 6.2 innings of relief work for the Crusaders.

The Patriots outhit Belmont Abbey 15-8, led by Welty's 3-for-5 performance. Four Patriots finished with two hits apiece: Johnson, Jaimie Harney, Polak, and freshman left fielder Taylor DeLeon.


Belmont Abbey 7, Francis Marion 6 (Feb 21, 2018 at Belmont, NC) (Game 1)
Francis Marion......  004 020 000  -  6 15  2      (7-4)
Belmont Abbey....... 060 000 001  -  7  8  1      (6-7)
Pitchers: Francis Marion - Sydney Holland; Reece Davis(2); Shania Domingue(9) and Chelsea Welty. Belmont Abbey - Watkins; Helms(3) and Smith.
Win-Helms (3-2)  Loss-Reece Davis (4-2)  T-2:24  A-115
HR FMU_SB - Jessica Harney (4).
Weather: cloudy

Francis Marion 2, Belmont Abbey 0 (Feb 21, 2018 at Belmont, NC) (Game 2)
Francis Marion......  000 002 0 -  2  8  1      (8-4)
Belmont Abbey....... 000 000 0 -  0  5  1      (6-8)
Pitchers: Francis Marion - Sydney Holland and Chelsea Welty. Belmont Abbey - Maltby and Doyle.
Win-Sydney Holland (4-1)  Loss-Maltby (1-2)  T-1:45
Weather: partly cloudy