Johnson’s walk-off walk earns FMU split with Flagler

Johnson’s walk-off walk earns FMU split with Flagler

FLORENCE, SC – Senior shortstop Taylor Johnson worked a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh to cap a three-run rally which gave Francis Marion University a 3-2 walk-off victory over Flagler College, in the back end of a Peach Belt Conference softball doubleheader on Saturday afternoon (April 6). The Saints edged the Patriots 3-2 in the twin bill opener.

FMU (24-15, 3-7) continues PBC play on Wednesday (April 10) as it hosts Augusta University for a double dip which begins at 4 p.m.

The two squads combined for just seven hits in game two, with no player on either squad posting multiple hits. The program's all-time walks leader (with 84), Johnson drew three free passes to lead the way for Francis Marion in game two, while junior shortstop Maria Kappos also reached three times (one hit and two walks) for Flagler (24-17, 7-3).

Trailing 2-0 entering the bottom of the seventh, Patriot senior first baseman Jessica Harney got the rally started by drawing a lead-off walk. Her twin sister, Jaimie, followed with a double off of the left field wall which was merely inches shy of a home run. Senior designated player Jennie Polak followed with a single through the left side to get FMU on the board and put the tying run at third, as well as the potential winning run at first.

Sophomore center fielder Karson Parker then laid down a bunt up the first base line. The Saints tried to throw out Jaimie Harney at the plate, but the senior second baseman slid in ahead of the tag to tie the contest. Sophomore left fielder Taylor DeLeon drew a walk to load the bases, and then Johnson was also handed a free pass to score pinch runner Liberty Schultz and give FMU the walk-off victory.

The contest was scoreless until the fifth. FMU junior right-handed pitcher Amie Hutchison (3-4) had not allowed a hit through the first four innings, but a walk, a single, and an error put two in scoring position with no outs for Flagler. Senior left fielder Megan Miller broke the deadlock with an RBI single, and a second run scored on a ground ball.

Hutchison recovered from that inning to keep the Saints off the board over the final two frames. The junior tossed her third complete game of the season, allowing two runs, one of which was earned, on four hits, with 16 of the 21 outs she recorded coming on ground balls.

Sophomore righty Katlyn McCue (8-5) was saddled with the loss for the Saints, going six innings and yielding three runs on three hits with five strikeouts.

In the opener, Jessica Harney led Francis Marion with a pair of hits, including her seventh home run of the season.

Miller had a pair of hits and scored the decisive run for the Saints.

Flagler struck first in game one, as junior third baseman Tatum Morgan homered with two outs in the top of the first. Jessica Harney tied it up with her solo shot in the second.

The Patriots then grabbed a 2-1 lead in the fourth. Senior third baseman Angela Buccilli walked to start the inning, stole second, and eventually scored on a two-out RBI single by freshman designated player Addie May.

Kappos evened the score with a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Johnson opened the bottom of the inning with a walk, but FMU left her stranded at third base.

In the top of the seventh, Miller led off with an infield single. The next two Saints reached to load the bases with no outs, and then junior right fielder Genevieve Mangini brought Miller in with a sacrifice fly. Francis Marion stayed within a run thanks to a diving catch in the right-center field gap by freshman right fielder Danielle Karacson.

The Harney twins tried to rally the Patriots in the last of the seventh, as a single by Jessica and double by Jaimie put the potential tying and winnings runs in scoring position with one out. However, junior righty Kyra Gipson (13-7) got a strikeout and pop up to quell the FMU uprising.

Gipson allowed two runs on four hits and struck out five to earn the complete-game victory for Flagler.

Sophomore right-hander Katelyn Ellard (15-6) went the distance as well for Francis Marion, surrendering three runs, two of which were earned, while fanning four.


Post-game comments from FMU head coach Stacey Vallee and junior right-handed pitcher Amie Hutchison

Flagler 3, Francis Marion 2 (Apr 6 2019 at Florence, SC) (Game 1)
Flagler.............       100 001 1 -  3  8  0      (24-16, 7-2 PBC)
Francis Marion...... 010 100 0 -  2  4  1      (23-15, 2-7 PBC)
Pitchers: Flagler - K. Gipson and J. Mijuskovi. Francis Marion - Katelyn Ellard and
Chelsea Welty.
Win-K. Gipson (13-7)  Loss-Katelyn Ellard (15-6)  T-1:49  A-120
HR FLG - T. Morgan.
HR FMU_SB - Jessica Harney.
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 67, Wind NE @ 5

Francis Marion 3, Flagler 2 (Apr 6, 2019 at Florence, SC) (Game 2)
Flagler.............       000 020 0 -  2  4  0      (24-17, 7-3 PBC)
Francis Marion...... 000 000 3 -  3  3  2      (24-15, 3-7 PBC)
Pitchers: Flagler - K. McCue; A. Savaglio (7) and J. Mijuskovi. Francis Marion - Amie Hutchison
and Chelsea Welty.
Win-Amie Hutchison (3-4)  Loss-K. McCue (8-5)  T-1:51
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 72, Wind NNW @
K. McCue faced 3 batters in the 7th.  A. Savaglio faced 3 batters in the 7th.

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