Francis Marion weathers Hurricane rally for softball split

Francis Marion weathers Hurricane rally for softball split

AMERICUS, GA – Freshman right fielder Danielle Karacson's first-inning two-run triple sparked Francis Marion University to a 6-3 victory over Georgia Southwestern State University and a split of Friday afternoon's (April 12) Peach Belt Conference softball doubleheader.  The Hurricanes captured a walk-off 3-2 win in game one.

Francis Marion (27-16, 6-8) will play a conference doubleheader at Columbus State University on Saturday at 1 p.m.  The Patriots' next home appearance will be Senior Day on April 20 against Lander University.

Junior right-hander Amie Hutchison (5-4) earned the game-two win as she pitched 6.2 innings and allowed three runs on five hits with two strikeouts.  Sophomore righty Katelyn Ellard came on in relief and stranded the tying runs on base (loaded) to earn her first collegiate save.

Patriot senior second baseman Jennie Polak and sophomore center fielder Karson Parker both had two hits in the second contest.

A pair of walks preceded the two-run triple by Karacson in the first inning of game two.  The Hurricanes trimmed the margin in half with a single tally in the third.

However, Francis Marion plated four runs in the top of the fourth to go ahead 6-1.  Parker and freshman pinch hitter Addie May delivered run-scoring singles, while one run scored on a wild pitch and one on a two-out GSW error.

Trailing 6-1, GSW loaded the bases in the seventh inning.  A run scored on a double-play grounder and Lauren Kuerzi doubled home a second run, before Ellard came on to extinguish the rally.

GSW starter Jennifer Jernigan (6-9) absorbed the game-two loss.

In Friday's opener, Hurricane designated player Elizabeth Wills hit a walk-off solo homer to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning.

GSW shortstop Hayley Tierce hit a solo homer over the centerfield fence in the bottom of the fourth to give the Hurricanes a 1-0 advantage.  FMU quickly responded in the top of the fifth with the tying run.  FMU senior shortstop Taylor Johnson led off with a single, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, took third on a ground out, and scored on a two-out RBI-single through the right side by senior first baseman Jessica Harney.

Another long ball by Tierce in the sixth staked the Hurricanes to a 2-1 lead.  In the top of the seventh, Johnson laced a one-out triple to right centerfield gap and then scored on a squeeze bunt by senior third baseman Angela Buccilli to knot the score at 2-2 and set the stage for Wills' game-ending blast.

Ellard (16-7) went the distance and surrendered seven hits, while striking out four.  Johnson led the Patriots at the plate with two hits and two runs scored.

Righty Shannon Gibson (10-4) earned the win for GSW as she scattered eight hits and also fanned four.


Ga. Southwestern 3, Francis Marion 2 (Apr 12, 2019 at Americus, Ga.) (Game 1)
Francis Marion......    000 010 1 -  2  8  0      (26-16, 5-8 PBC)
Ga. Southwestern.... 000 101 1 -  3  7  0      (24-19, 8-5 PBC)
Pitchers: Francis Marion - Katelyn Ellard and Chelsea Welty. Ga. Southwestern - S. Gibson and
S. King.
Win-S. Gibson (10-4)  Loss-Katelyn Ellard (16-7)  T-1:40  A-106
HR GSW - H. Tierce 2; E. Wills.
Ellard faced 1 batter in the 7th.

Francis Marion 6, Ga. Southwestern 3 (Apr 12, 2019 at Americus, Ga.) (Game 2)
Francis Marion......    200 400 0 -  6  8  4      (27-16, 6-8 PBC)
Ga. Southwestern.... 001 000 2 -  3  5  1      (24-20, 8-6 PBC)
Pitchers: Francis Marion - Amie Hutchison; Katelyn Ellard(7) and Chelsea Welty.
Ga. Southwestern - J. Jernigan; H. Dickerson(4); S. Gibson(4); A. Dean(7) and S. King.
Win-Amie Hutchison(5-4)  Save-Katelyn Ellard(1)  Loss-J. Jernigan(6-9)  T-2:30  A-136
J. Jernigan faced 1 batter in the 4th.
H. Dickerson faced 3 batters in the 4th.