Patriots collar Bulldogs behind Johnson and Karacson

Patriots collar Bulldogs behind Johnson and Karacson

FLORENCE, SC – Senior shortstop Taylor Johnson and freshman right fielder Danielle Karacson combined for six hits, five runs scored, and five driven in to spark Francis Marion University to a sweep of Barton College, by scores of 3-0 and 10-2 in five innings, Thursday evening (March 21) in non-conference softball action.

Francis Marion improves to 20-11 and will hit the highway for four consecutive road doubleheaders, beginning with a Peach Belt Conference twin bill at USC Aiken on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

FMU sophomore right-hander Katelyn Ellard (13-4) carried a no-hitter in the seventh inning of game one before surrendering a pair of singles.  She finished with seven strikeouts, while walking only one.

Johnson led off the game for the Patriots by drawing a first-inning walk.  She is the Patriot career leader in bases-on-balls with 77.  She eventually scored on an RBI-ground out by senior first baseman Jessica Harney.  In her next trip to the plate in the third inning, Johnson launched a solo homer over the center field fence doubling the Patriot advantage to 2-0.

Karacson accounted for the other FMU tally with a run-scoring double to left centerfield in the bottom of the fourth.  That hit nearly left the stadium as it hit off the top of the fence.

Senior second baseman Jaimie Harney was the lone Patriot with multiple hits in the opener as she went 2-for-3.

Barton senior lefty Makayla Meeks (3-4) absorbed the loss as she allowed all three runs on only three hits in four innings.

In the second contest, the Bulldogs scored twice in the top of the first.  Francis Marion answered immediately with five runs in the bottom of the initial frame. 

Johnson again ignited a Patriot rally as she led off with a single.  Following a fielding error and a single by senior catcher Chelsea Welty, FMU had the bases loaded with no outs.  A walk to Jaimie Harney brought in one run and Karacson plated two more with a double to left center.  The final two runs came home on a fielder's choice grounder by freshman right-handed pitcher Janecia Hemingway and an infield grounder by red-shirt freshman designated player Taylor Lutian.

Hemingway (6-4), after allowing the two first-inning runs, settled down and gave up only one more hit.  She fanned three and walked two, while allowing only four singles.

An RBI single up the middle by Lutian in the third expanded the FMU lead to 6-2.  The Patriots scored four times in the fifth to end the contest via the eight-run mercy rule.  Freshman pinch runner Liberty Schultz stole home plate as part of a double steal, while Hemingway, Lutian, and Johnson all had run-scoring singles in the final frame.

Johnson, Karacson, Hemingway, and Lutian all rapped out two hits in the second contest, with Lutian driving in three runs.

Junior righty Sierra Hearp (4-2) was the losing pitcher.


Post-game comments from FMU head coach Stacey Vallee and freshman outfielder Danielle Karacson

Francis Marion 3, Barton 0 (Mar 21, 2019 at Florence, SC) (Game 1)
Barton..............      000 000 0 -  0  2  0      (13-15)
Francis Marion...... 101 100 X -  3  6  0      (19-11)
Pitchers: Barton - M. Meeks; H. Jones (5) and M. Knapp. Francis Marion - Katelyn Ellard and
Chelsea Welty.
Win-Katelyn Ellard (13-4)  Loss-M. Meeks (3-4)  T-1:43  A-57
HR FMU_SB - Taylor Johnson.
Weather: Overcast,65,winds WNW @ 15 mph

Francis Marion 10, Barton 2 (Mar 21, 2019 at Florence, SC) (Game 2)
Barton..............      200 00 -  2  4  1      (13-16)
Francis Marion...... 501 04 - 10 10  2      (20-11)
Pitchers: Barton - S. Hearp; A. Pegram(4) and M. Knapp. Francis Marion - Janecia Hemingway and Chelsea Welty.
Win-Janecia Hemingway (6-4)  Loss-S. Hearp (4-2)  T-1:35
Weather: Mostly Cloudy