DAVIE – Sydney Koch not only pitched Florida Southern past Nova Southeastern in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, she also came up with the biggest hit before getting a big assist from Hannah Loyer. That combination led the Moccasins to a 3-1 win over the Sharks in game one before junior Erica Morrissey had three hits and two RBI in game two to propel the Moccasins to a 4-2 victory.
The Moccasins (14-25-1, 6-11-1 Sunshine State Conference) had a total of 16 hits in the doubleheader, with Morrissey, junior Erin Klein, and freshman Zierra Flodman all picking up three spread across the two games. The Moccasins also got a total of four scoreless innings of relief from Loyer, who picked up saves in both games to give Florida Southern its first conference sweep since March of 2014 at Florida Tech.
Through the first three innings of game one, the Mocs had been held to a pair of infield singles by NSU pitcher Dajia Jones: one by sophomore Ashlyn Worcester in the second and one by Klein in the third. In the top of the fourth though, Florida Southern picked up four hits and the first three of those came around to score.
Flodman had the Mocs' first hit of the fourth inning with a one-out single and freshman Jessica Trana followed with another single. When Worcester hit into a fielder's choice to shortstop, the Mocs were left with runners at the corners but sophomore Amber Presto gave them their first run of the game with a bouncing single through the left side of the infield. That brought Koch to the plate and the junior from Carl Junction, Missouri smoked a ball through the gap in left center that split the two outfielders in pursuit. With the ball going all the way to the fence for a triple, Worcester and Presto easily scored to put the Moccasins ahead 3-0.
The Sharks (11-34, 1-20) scored their only run off Koch in the bottom of the fifth after Haley Gonzales and Sophia Devesa started the inning with back-to-back singles. Jessie Brown's one-out double to center drove in Gonzales but Koch thwarted a squeeze play one batter later when she came out of the circle to field a bunt by Sabrina Fischer, and slap the tag on Devesa coming down the line from third. Senior catcher Jordan Alexander would end the inning for Florida Southern by throwing out Fischer trying to steal second.
Koch worked around a walk and an error in the sixth to keep it a 3-1 game but ran into trouble in the bottom of the seventh when she surrendered two hits to start the inning. That brought Loyer into the game with runners at first and second and the junior retired the first two batters she faced on a foul pop-up and strikeout. After issuing a walk to Dakota Villella, Loyer got Megan Granitto on a pop up to second for the final out.
That made a winner of Koch, who is now 5-4 on the season after allowing one run on six hits with three strikeouts and two walks in her 6.0 innings of work. In addition to her 2-run triple in the fourth she also had a double in the seventh, giving her two of Florida Southern's seven hits in the game. Loyer's seventh inning in which she struck out one and walked one resulted in her first save of the season.
Dajia Jones took the loss for Nova Southeastern, falling to 4-12 as she gave up three runs on seven hits, struck out two and walked no one in her complete game.
In the second game each team got on the board in the first inning with an RBI single by Morrissey giving the Moccasins a 1-0 lead in the top half, and a 2-run homer by Dajia Jones putting the Sharks on top 2-1.
The score remained that way until the top of the third when the Moccasins re-claimed the lead, an inning sparked by freshman outfielder Annemarie Tracey who was making her first start of the season. Tracey led off the third with a single up the middle and two batters later Klein also singled up the middle. When Tracey and Klein pulled off a double steal, the throw to third went down the line, which allowed Tracey to score the tying run. Morrissey then delivered her second RBI single of the game, driving in Klein with the go-ahead run.
The Moccasins added their insurance run in the top of the seventh when Klein led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch, and came home on a single by Flodman.
Junior Brandi Jones earned the win for Florida Southern, her second of the series, to improve to 7-12. She pitched the first four innings and gave up two runs on just three hits, striking out no one and walking one. Loyer pitched the final three innings and retired nine of the 10 Nova batters she faced. She walked Villella with one out in the fifth before setting down the final seven Shark hitters.
Granitto suffered the loss for Nova Southeastern, falling to 5-12. The Moccasins had nine hits off her, scoring three earned runs with one strikeout and one walk.
Florida Southern will return home for its final two series of the season, beginning next Friday and Saturday against Tampa. The first game is Friday night at 6 p.m., followed by a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m.