TAMPA – Seven shutout innings by Brandi Jones gave Florida Southern a chance to win Friday night, and though it took one extra inning beyond that, the Moccasins got that win by erupting for three runs on four hits in the top of the eighth inning. They also took advantage of two critical Tampa errors to score those runs and come away with a 3-0 win over the Spartans.
Jones allowed only five base runners and three of them were infield singles. The Spartans never had more than one runner in any inning against her as the senior who tossed her second shutout of the season. It was also the 11th time in 19 starts Jones allowed five hits or less.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- With the game still scoreless in the top of the eighth, the Moccasins (16-23, 7-15 Sunshine State Conference) batted around in scoring their three runs, all of which were unearned. The inning started with a single by Shannon Bell, who was bunted into scoring position by Erica Morrissey. When Zierra Flodman hit a ground ball to second, it bounced off of and away from second baseman Erica Matich. That allowed Bell to score from second with the go-ahead run. Leah Pemberton followed that with a base hit to right that put runners at first and second, and two batters later an infield hit by Makayla Deuberry plated pinch-runner Jordan Sheppard with the second run. Pemberton eventually scored the final run for the 3-0 margin.
- Florida Southern and Tampa (28-11, 15-7 SSC) combined for only five hits through the first five innings, and each team got runners into scoring position only once. For the Moccasins it happened in the top of the first inning when Desirae Klumpp led off with a single and Morrissey walked with one out. A ground out by Flodman moved them along to second and third, but UT pitcher Makaleigh Dooley got a strikeout to end the inning.
- The only base runner the Spartans got into scoring position in the first five innings was Taylor Farrell who doubled with one out in the bottom of the fourth.
- Both teams also attempted to bunt runners into scoring position at different points, only to have them erased on double plays. Dooley led off the bottom of the second with an infield single, prompting a bunt by Madison Farrell. Morrissey turned it into a 5-6-4 double play, however, and Jones was out of danger. In the top of the sixth, the Mocs got a leadoff single from Bell, but when Morrissey bunted, she was hit by the ball outside the batter's box for an automatic out. Flodman then grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the inning.
- After Jones worked around a leadoff double by Laurie Kostecka in the bottom of the sixth, the Moccasins put together the most serious scoring threat for either team during the first seven innings. A one-out single by Jessica Trana followed by a walk to Deuberry forced a pitching change for the Spartans, with Corynn Miner replacing Dooley. Miner got the second out before Erin Klein singled sharply through the left side of the infield to load the bases. She escaped without giving up a run though when Klumpp hit a ground ball to short that was turned into a force out at third.
- While giving up just five hits, Jones improved to 4-12 and lowered her ERA to 2.15. She struck out four and walked no one. Miner fell to 12-4 with the loss, giving up the three unearned runs on five hits in 1.2 innings. Dooley allowed five hits, struck out two and walked two in 6.1 innings.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- The shutout by Jones was the first for a Florida Southern pitcher against Tampa since 2010 when Morgan Brown scattered four hits with four strikeouts and three walks in a 4-0 win in Lakeland.
- Bell, Trana and Klein all had two of Florida Southern's 10 hits. The Moccasins have now reached double digits in hits in four of their last five games and have out-hit their opponents in six straight games.
- Klein has started the last four games as the Moccasins' designated player, and has gone 8-for-12.
- Dooley and Kostecka each had two of Tampa's five hits.
- The Moccasins are now 3-2 in extra-inning games this year. Their extra-inning game with Tampa was only the third between the two teams in the last 15 years, covering 51 games.
- Florida Southern and Tampa combined to go just 1-for-17 with runners on base during the regulation seven innings. The Moccasins then went 3-for-7 in that situation in the top of the eighth.
- Klumpp made the defensive play of the night with a long running catch in left center, snaring a line drive over her head that was hit by Bre Setree in the seventh inning. One inning before that she froze Kostecka at third with a strike to the plate after catching a fly ball in left.
UP NEXT: Florida Southern and Tampa wrap up the regular season Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader beginning at 1 p.m.