Ellard-led Patriots sweep twinbill from Pioneers

Ellard-led Patriots sweep twinbill from Pioneers

FLORENCE, SC – Sophomore right-hander Katelyn Ellard picked up a pair of pitching wins as Francis Marion University swept a non-conference doubleheader from Tusculum University on Sunday afternoon (March 3), winning 4-3 and 6-4.

The Patriots improve to 14-6, including 11-1 at home.  Francis Marion will host Catawba College for a doubleheader on Friday at 4 p.m.

Ellard (9-2) pitched a complete-game five-hitter in game one.  She fanned nine Pioneer batters. She also received some seventh-inning help from her battery mate, senior catcher Chelsea Welty.  Welty picked off the potential tying run on first base for the first out.  Senior second baseman Jaimie Harney came over to cover the first base bag on the play and applied the tag.  Ellard retired the next two batters on strikeouts to end the contest.

FMU scored single runs in each of the first four innings to account for its runs.  Senior shortstop Taylor Johnson led off the FMU first with a double to right centerfield.  She then came around to score when a sacrifice bunt attempt by senior third baseman Angela Buccilli was thrown wildly past first base.

After Tusculum scored twice in the top of the second, Johnson knotted the score at 2-2 with an RBI double to right field.  Welty lined a solo homer just inside the left field foul pole in the third to put Francis Marion up 3-2.

A solo homer by Tusculum's Grayson Brown re-tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the fourth, but Patriot senior first baseman Jessica Harney doubled home sophomore centerfield Taylor DeLeon in the bottom of the frame to put FMU back on top.

Tusculum (7-5) loaded the bases with one out in the sixth, but Ellard retired the next two batters to end the threat.  Pioneer starter Taylor Plemons (2-2) took the loss as she surrendered all four runs.

Johnson was lone Patriot with multiple hits in the opener, going 2-for-4.

In game two, Ellard relived FMU freshman righty Janecia Hemingway in the fourth inning and earned the win as FMU rallied from a 3-1 deficit.  The game included a pair of short rain delays.

Senior designated player Jennie Polak led FMU with a pair of hits in game two.

FMU again scored in its opening frame as Johnson reached on an outfield fielding error and eventually came around to score on an RBI ground out by Jessica Harney – her Peach Belt Conference-leading 25 RBI of the season.

Both teams scored three times in the fourth inning.  The Patriot tallies came when Polak dropped an RBI double on the right field line, and two runs scored when DeLeon's grounder was misplayed.

FMU expanded its lead to 6-3 in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Jaimie Harney and a pinch-hit RBI single by freshman Addie May.  Tusculum first baseman Emily Hester clouted her third home run of the twinbill in the sixth to cut the margin to 6-4.

Ellard stranded one runner on base in the seventh and left Hester in the on-deck circle when the final out was recorded.

Pioneer starter Ivee Richesin (1-2) was tagged with the loss.


Post-game comments from FMU head coach Stacey Vallee

Francis Marion 4, Tusculum 3 (Mar 3, 2019 at Florence, SC) (Game 1)
Tusculum............   020 100 0 -  3  5  1      (7-4)
Francis Marion...... 111 100 X -  4  7  1      (13-6)
Pitchers: Tusculum - Taylor Plemons; Ivee Richesin (5) and Taylor Johnson. Francis Marion -
Katelyn Ellard and Chelsea Welty.
Win-Katelyn Ellard (8-2)  Loss-Taylor Plemons (2-2)  T-2:10  A-79
HR TU - Emily Hester; Grayson Brown.
HR FMU_SB - Chelsea Welty.
Weather: Overcast,58,Winds SE @ 9 mph

Francis Marion 6, Tusculum 4 (Mar 3, 2019 at Florence, SC) (Game 2)
Tusculum............   000 301 0 -  4  8  2      (7-5)
Francis Marion...... 100 320 X -  6  6  0      (14-6)
Pitchers: Tusculum - Ivee Richesin; Allison Pate (4) and Emma Casey. Francis Marion -
Janecia Hemingway; Katelyn Ellard (4) and Chelsea Welty.
Win-Katelyn Ellard (9-2)  Loss-Ivee Richesin (1-2)  T-2:40
HR TU - Emily Hester 2; Emma Casey.
Weather: Overcast,64,Winds ESE @ 9 mph