AUBURNDALE, FL – A grand slam by Alex Mace and a 3-run homer by Zierra Flodman were the big hits for Florida Southern on Saturday as the Moccasins defeated Florida Tech 10-2 in the second game of their doubleheader after the Panthers scored two runs in the top of the sixth to rally for a 3-2 win in game one.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME ONE:
- The first four innings were dominated by defense and the pitching of Florida Southern's Hannah Loyer and Florida Tech's Amanda Kahn. Loyer retired the Panthers in order over the first three innings before Hailey Leonard led off the top of the fourth with a double. Two batters later, third baseman Erica Morrissey speared a line drive off the bat of Alexus Smith and fired it over to second baseman Leah Pemberton to end the inning with a double play and erase the only base runner the Panthers had up to that point.
- Earlier in the game, Moccasin leftfielder Desirae Klumpp went on the run to deep left center to track down another ball hit by Leonard, and denied the Panther leadoff batter what would have been a double to start the game. It was the second time in the series Leonard lost a hit on a tough catch by a Moccasin outfielder. Centerfielder Shannon Bell took away a double, or possibly a home run, from Leonard on Friday night leading off that game.
- The Moccasins (14-21, 5-13 Sunshine State Conference) had four hits off Kahn through the first four innings, with two in the second and two in the third. Kahn got help in the second inning though from second baseman Karina Suicava, who dove low to the ground to catch a line drive by Flodman and then helped turn a 6-4-3 double play that ended the inning. A double by Donna Ryan and single by Erin Klein started the bottom of the fourth, but Kahn left them stranded by recording three straight outs, two of them on ground balls fielded by third baseman Alexus Smith that held forced Ryan to hold at third each time.
- In the top of the fifth, after Loyer struck out Makayla Palmer to start that inning, Krista Patterson doubled down the line in left and scored the first run of the game for Florida Tech (23-22, 8-10) after two wild pitches.
- The Mocs erased the deficit in the bottom of the fifth with two unearned runs off Kahn, an inning that started with a leadoff single by Ryan. Klein nearly got another hit, but Kahn was able to deflect a chopper up the middle over to Suicava that allowed the second baseman to step on the bag for a force out. Klumpp then hit another ball up the middle that was initially stopped by Kahn but thrown away for an error on the infield hit as the Moccasin base runners moved to second and third. That brought Rachel Pence into the game in relief of Kahn and Bell hit one into centerfield that was misplayed for the second error in the inning. That brought Klein, who would have scored on the fly ball anyway, and Klumpp in for a 2-1 Florida Southern lead.
- With Kristen Beacham now in the game for Florida Southern after relieving Loyer in the fifth, the Panthers pushed across two more runs in the top of the sixth to re-claim the lead. A walk to Katie Maiello and single by Smith gave the Panthers their base runners and after a wild pitch moved them up another base, Patterson's single up the middle brought both of them in to make it a 3-2 game in favor of Florida Tech.
- Pence set down the final eight Moccasin batters of the game to earn the win in relief as she improved to 16-14. She had five strikeouts in her 2.2 innings of work and the only base runner against her came on an error. Kahn did not allow an earned run in 4.1 innings, allowing six hits with one walk and no strikeouts.
- Beacham fell to 5-8 for Florida Southern by giving up two runs on three hits with four strikeouts and one walk. Loyer allowed one run on two hits with a season-high seven strikeouts and two walks in 4.1 innings.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS OF GAME ONE:
- Ryan had two of the Moccasins' six hits, while Leonard and Patterson had two for Florida Tech.
- Bell had hit leadoff for the Moccasins in the first 33 games this year before moving to the No. 2 spot Saturday. She drove in a run in her first plate appearance in that role with a runner in scoring position as she was credited with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth.
- Loyer is averaging 7.16 strikeouts per seven innings over the last two seasons, the third highest average in the SSC for any pitcher with over 100 innings during that time.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME TWO:
- Before Mace and Flodman went deep in the second game, the Moccasins had already struck for two runs in the bottom of the first inning, with their first run set up by a single and stolen base from Bell. A single by Morrissey drove her in, with Morrissey taking second on the throw to the plate. When Flodman followed that with a single of her own, Morrissey moved to third before coming home when the ball was mishandled in left for an error, giving the Mocs their 2-0 lead.
- The Moccasins blew the game open in the bottom of the third after loading the bases on two more singles by Bell and Morrissey and a walk to Pemberton. Mace came to bat after the walk and crushed a 1-0 pitch over the fence in left centerfield for a grand slam that made the score 6-0. It was the first career home run for the freshman from nearby Bartow.
- Flodman launched her home run one inning later, which followed a walk by Dana Mackiewicz and single by Bell. That one came on a 2-2 pitch and also cleared the fence in left center, putting the Mocs ahead 9-0. They weren't finished in the inning either. Three straight singles by Pemberton, Mace and Ryan produced another run, and the Mocs were ahead 10-0.
- The Panthers prevented a shutout in the top of the fifth when Leonard hit a 2-run homer to put them on the board before Brandi Jones got back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning and allow Florida Southern to win by the 8-run rule.
- Jones went the distance for her third win of the season, giving up six hits and two walks, while striking out two (the final two hitters of the game).
- McKenzie Krutsinger fell to 1-3 after giving up the first six runs on seven hits with one walk and no strikeouts. Pence pitched the final 1.2 innings and surrendered four runs on five hits with one walk and no strikeouts.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS OF GAME TWO:
- The 10 runs matched Florida Southern's season high set against Claflin in a 10-2 win on March 8.
- The grand slam by Mace was the first for a Moccasin since March 24, 2010 when Lindsey Powell hit one inside-the-park at Barnett Field against Rollins. It's the 17th grand slam in team history and the Moccasins have won all 17 games in which they've hit one.
- Three of the last four grand slams hit by a Moccasin have come from players who graduated from Bartow High School. Elli Howell hit one in 2009 against Nova Southeastern and Erin Foley hit one in 2010 at West Georgia.
- The last time the Mocs hit two home runs in one game was April 18, 2015 at Rollins (Kim Booker and Maggie Roberts). They hadn't done that in a home game since 2012 against Palm Beach Atlantic (Randi Grimes and Sam Gale).
- Bell went 3-for-3, Flodman went 2-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt, and Pemberton was 2-for-2 with a walk, giving the Mocs three starters with perfect games at the plate. It was Bell's fourth game of the season with three or more hits.
- Bell is hitting .391 in conference play this year and Mace is hitting .346, making them the Mocs' top two hitters in that part of the schedule.
UP NEXT: Florida Southern will be off next weekend before playing its final home series of the year on April 21 and 22 against Nova Southeastern. The first game of that series is at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 21.