Patriots split twin bill with Warriors

Patriots split twin bill with Warriors

CENTRAL, SC – Francis Marion University beat Southern Wesleyan University 5-1 in game one, before falling 6-5 in walk-off fashion in the second game of a non-conference softball doubleheader on Friday night (Feb. 8)

FMU (4-2) continues its six-game road trip at 12 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 9) with a doubleheader against Emmanuel College (GA). Francis Marion returns home to host the Patriot Invitational Tournament, Feb. 15-17, at the FMU Softball Stadium.

The middle infield duo of senior shortstop Taylor Johnson and senior second baseman Jaimie Harney provided much of the Patriots' offense punch in game one. Johnson knocked in a pair of runs, including the go-ahead tallies in the sixth, while Harney collected a pair of hits, an RBI, and a run scored.

Freshman shortstop Delaney Byers and sophomore designated player/catcher Megan New had two knocks apiece for the Warriors (2-4).

With game one deadlocked at 1-1 in the top of the sixth, the Patriots loaded the bases with one out for Johnson. She singled, bringing home both junior pitcher Amie Hutchison and Harney.

Francis Marion tacked on two more in the seventh on run-producing doubles by senior catcher Chelsea Welty and freshman right fielder Danielle Karacson.

Hutchison (1-1) earned the win in relief, her first as a Patriot, recording the final eight outs without surrendering a run. The righty stranded the potential go-ahead run in the fifth, and the potential tying runs in the sixth.

Southern Wesleyan put runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the first, but FMU sophomore right-hander Katelyn Ellard struck out the next two to wiggle out of the jam. The Patriots took the lead in the next frame, as designated player Janecia Hemingway doubled, then scored on an RBI single by Harney.

After Ellard danced around trouble again in the second, SWU broke through in the third when Byers led off with a triple, then came around to tie the score on a sacrifice fly. Ellard yielded a run on three hits and struck out five in three innings, earning a no-decision for her efforts.

Freshman right-hander Emma Collins (1-1) took the loss for the Warriors, allowing four runs in three innings out of the bullpen.

The two teams each left 10 runners on base in game one, and FMU pitching held SWU to 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.

Senior third baseman Angela Buccilli led the Patriot offense with three hits and two runs scored in game two. Johnson added two more hits and scored a pair of runs.

New once again had a pair of knocks for the Warriors, while junior left fielder Amber Belk had two hits and drove in three.

FMU entered the bottom of the seventh leading 5-3, and after SWU put the tying runs on base, the visitors turned to Hutchison (1-2) to try and close the game out. New brought the Warriors within one with an RBI single, and one batter later, the bases were loaded with no outs. Francis Marion turned a 5-2-3 double play, but two outs Belk drilled a double to left to bring home the game-winning tallies.

Buccilli gave Francis Marion the first run of game two in the third, doubling home Johnson. Freshman designated player Addie May followed with a two-run single to make it 3-0.

The Warriors went hitless over the first three frames, but pulled a run back in the fourth on a base hit by senior catcher Lexi Thompson.

Senior first baseman Jessica Harney extended FMU's edge to four in the fifth, driving in a pair with a two-bagger. Southern Wesleyan answered with two in the sixth.

Ellard started again in the circle for Francis Marion and gave up four runs, three of which were earned, on four hits and fanned five in six innings.

Sophomore righty Delanie Laudenbacher (1-2) went the distance for SWU and surrendered five runs on nine hits.

Francis Marion 5, Southern Wesleyan 1 (Feb 08, 2019 at Central, SC) (Game 1)
Francis Marion......       010 002 2 -  5  6  1      (4-1)
Southern Wesleyan... 001 000 0 -  1  5  0      (1-4)
Pitchers: Francis Marion - Katelyn Ellard; Janecia Hemingway (4); Amie Hutchison (5) and
Chelsea Welty. Southern Wesleyan - Martin, A; Collins, E (5) and Thompson, L; New, M.
Win-Amie Hutchison (1-1)  Loss-Collins, E (1-1)  T-2:30  A-107
Martin, A faced 2 batters in the 5th.

Southern Wesleyan 6, Francis Marion 5 (Feb 08, 2019 at Central, SC) (Game 2)
Francis Marion......       003 020 0 -  5  9  2      (4-2)
Southern Wesleyan... 000 102 3 -  6  9  2      (2-4)
Pitchers: Francis Marion - Katelyn Ellard; Amie Hutchison(7) and Chelsea Welty.
Southern Wesleyan - Laudenbacher and Thompson, L.
Win-Laudenbacher (1-2)  Loss-Amie Hutchison (1-2)  T-2:00  A-71
Ellard faced 2 batters in the 7th.