LAKELAND – After Rollins held on for a 7-6 victory in game one of Saturday's doubleheader, Florida Southern received another dominating pitching performance from freshman Jenna Weldon, and a 4-hit game from Shannon Bell in game two to beat the Tars 7-0, giving head coach Chris Bellotto her 1,216th career fast-pitch win. That moved the hall of fame coach into sole possession of second place on the all-time NCAA Division II list for career wins.
Saturday's first game saw the Moccasins (17-7, 6-6 Sunshine State Conference) take a 4-2 lead after two innings only to see the Tars (17-12, 6-6) score five unanswered runs to take a 7-4 lead into the bottom of the seventh. The Mocs did not go quietly though, pushing two runs across to make it a one-run game before Grace Street got the final out for her second win in less than 24 hours over the Mocs.
In the second game, the Mocs rode the arm of Weldon and the bats of Desirae Klumpp and Bell at the top of the lineup to post the largest margin of victory for any team in a Sunshine State Conference game this season. Weldon limited the Tars to only two hits in her second complete game shutout of the week, while Bell went 4-for-4, giving her seven hits in the doubleheader. Klumpp was 2-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch, banging out a double and a triple, with both of those extra-base hits leading off innings and turning into runs.
That combination gave Bellotto the 1,216th win of her career and moved her ahead of long-time former Bloomsburg coach Jan Hutchinson for the number two position on the career Division II list for coaching victories in fast-pitch softball. Gary Bryce, who is still coaching at Wayne State (MI) is the only one ahead of Bellotto now with 1,250 coming into Saturday. Bellotto also moved into 12th place on the all-divisions coaching list with Saturday's win.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME ONE:
- Florida Southern and Rollins combined for nine runs on eight hits in the first 2½ innings after it took them eight full innings on Friday night to score seven runs on 11 hits. They also had an additional eight base runners during those 2½ innings as a result of errors, walks or hit batters in an early slugfest that ended with Rollins holding a 5-4 lead.
- In the first two innings, Rollins scored single runs in the top half of each frame, and Florida Southern came back with two runs in the bottom half of each. Bell had hits in each inning for the Moccasins, scoring after her single in the first and driving in another with a single in the second. Jessica Trana was involved in scoring plays in the first and second innings too. Her fly ball in the first was misplayed for an error (the second one for Rollins in the bottom of the first), and her triple in the second knocked in Bell for a 4-2 lead at that point.
- The Tars had scored on an RBI double by Chandler Middlebrook in the first and a Florida Southern error in the second before taking the lead with three runs in the top of the third. That started with a walk by Middlebrook and an infield hit by Talia Kentoffio and both runners scored on a squeeze play executed by Brianne Lint. One run scored directly on the bunt and the tying run came in when the ball wasn't handled at home plate. Lint later scored the go-ahead run on a groundout by Sarah Harrison, and the Tars were up 5-4.
- Rollins added another run in the fourth and its final run in the seventh, but the Mocs were held scoreless from the third through sixth by Street, who had been tagged for four runs on five hits in the first and second. Down by three in the bottom of the seventh, though, the Mocs came to life again when Klumpp was hit on the arm leading off the inning and Bell followed with her third hit of the game. Klumpp aggressively went to third, drawing a throw from right fielder Sarah Harrison, which allowed Bell to take an extra base as well. Groundouts by Trana and Zierra Flodman got those runners in, and the Mocs within one, but Street finished the game by getting Weldon to ground out for a 7-6 win.
- Street improved to 8-3 by going the distance, allowing six runs (four earned) on seven hits, striking out three and walking three. That followed her 7.2 scoreless innings of relief in Friday night's game that resulted in a 4-3 win in eight innings for the Tars.
- Kelli Gault fell to 5-4 with the loss, going the first four innings and giving up six runs (three earned) on four hits with one strikeout and three walks. Aubrey Ehlers pitched the final three innings and gave up one run on five hits with one strikeout and no walks.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME TWO:
- The second game was all Florida Southern as the Moccasins out-hit the Tars 12-2 for their most lopsided win over the Tars since a 13-1 win in 2009. It ended the Tars' six-game winning streak this season and a 10-game winning streak against the Mocs dating back to 2015. Six of those 10 losses had been by a single run, two others had been by two runs, and the other two were tie games in the sixth inning before the Tars pulled away.
- Bell collected four hits in the game with singles in the first, third, fifth, and sixth innings. Klumpp was on base three times ahead of her with a triple in the third, a double in the fifth, and a hit-by-pitch in the sixth. The Mocs also got two hits from Flodman and Alli Carroll, as well as two RBI from Trana.
- It was Carroll who drove in the Mocs' first run in the bottom of the second. That followed a two-out bloop double by Makayla Deuberry that fell out of the reach of two outfielders and one infielder. One inning later, Klumpp delivered a leadoff triple and scored on Bell's second hit, and Flodman later drove in Bell for a 3-0 lead.
- Klumpp and Bell also started the fifth inning with hits, a double for the Moccasin leadoff hitter and a single by Bell that put runners at the corners. Klumpp scored on a wild pitch and a fly ball by Trana brought Bell home for a 5-0 lead. Flodman then singled and scored on a double by Alex Mace.
- The final run came in the bottom of the sixth when Carroll drove one into the gap in right-center for a double and later came in to score on another sacrifice fly by Trana.
- The Tars never got going against Weldon, who retired the first seven batters Rollins sent to the plate and did not allow a hit until Lint singled with two out in the fourth. They also got a double by Brianna Ernst to start the fifth, but she was stranded at third as Weldon set down nine of the final 10 batters in her second shutout of the season and the second this week. Her first was a perfect game against Chestnut Hill on Monday. Now 4-0, with all of those wins coming in the last eight days, Weldon struck out one and walked two in addition to the two hits allowed.
- Abby Summers dropped to 8-9 with the loss, as the Mocs got to her for six runs on 10 hits in 4.2 innings. She struck out two and walked no one before Erin Crawford finished the game.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- The seven-run margin was the largest in a Sunshine State Conference game this year by one run. Palm Beach Atlantic had beaten Rollins in the series finale last week, 7-1. Only two other SSC games have been decided by as many as five runs: a 6-1 win by Florida Southern over Eckerd on February 24, and a 5-0 win by Tampa over Lynn on Saturday at the same time the Moccasins were beating Rollins.
- Bell's four-hit game was her second of the season. She went 4-for-4 in the second game of the Mocs' doubleheader at USC-Aiken. She is the first Moccasin with two 4-hit games in a season since 2001 when Jackie Pavone did it against Wayne State of Nebraska (4-for-4) and Barry (5-for-6 in a 14-inning game).
- Klumpp came into the second game with one double and one triple on the season but had one of each. She's hitting .393 in the Mocs' 10 games this month with a .471 on-base percentage.
- Trana had four RBI in the doubleheader and five in the series.
- Weldon has not given up a run in her last 20.2 innings.
UP NEXT: Florida Southern will be at home again on Tuesday for a 5 p.m. doubleheader against Ursuline (OH).