LAKELAND – Rollins used a 4-run third inning to take a 4-0 lead Friday night before Florida Southern stormed back with three runs in the fifth, but the Moccasins were unable to complete the comeback and dropped the first game of their Sunshine State Conference series with the Tars, 5-3.
Rollins (9-3-1, 1-0 SSC) did not get its first hit until Hailee Keisling singled with one out in the top of the third following a Florida Southern error. After Jule Kranz bunted the two runners up an extra base, Tiffany Osmanski doubled into the right centerfield gap to knock both of them in. Brianne Lint followed with another run-scoring double and an RBI single by Chelsea Reed made it 4-0.
Florida Southern (8-3-1, 2-1) matched Rollins with four hits through the first four innings but was unable to score until the bottom of the fifth when the Mocs were sparked by a 1-out infield single by junior Erin Klein who stole second with two out to put herself into scoring position. After a walk to junior Erica Morrissey, senior Maggie Roberts singled in Klein with the Moccasins' first run. A passed ball put Roberts and Morrissey at second and third, and freshman Jessica Trana drove both of them in with a single into short right center.
That hit by Trana though was the Moccasins' last base runner of the night against Rollins pitcher Niki Fogle, who gave up three runs (two earned) on seven hits while striking out a season-high 10 batters. She walked one and upped her record to 6-3 on the season.
The Tars gave Fogle an insurance run in the top of the seventh when Reed had her second run-scoring hit of the night with a 2-out triple after Kranz had led off the inning with an infield hit.
Junior Brandi Jones took the loss for Florida Southern, falling to 4-2, though she did not give up an earned run in her 5.0 innings of work. The Tars reached her for six hits and one walk, and Jones also had six strikeouts. Junior Hannah Loyer pitched the final two innings, giving up one run on three hits with one strikeout and one walk.
Trana was the only Moccasin with more than one hit Friday night, with a single in the fourth inning and her 2-run single in the fifth. Morrissey reached in two of her four trips to the plate with a single and a walk and also made the defensive play of the night by robbing Sid Masso of a hit in the fourth inning.
Florida Southern and Rollins will conclude their 3-game series on Saturday after with a doubleheader at 1 p.m.