TAMPA – Shannon Bell delivered over and over for the Moccasins at the plate, Erin Klein came up with two more clutch hits late in the game, and Desirae Klumpp put on a show on offense and defense before Brandi Jones secured the win not as a starter but in relief. That combination led Florida Southern to a 9-6 win over Tampa in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader.
Klumpp, Bell and Klein, the Mocs' 1-2-9 hitters, combined to go 7-for-9 with six RBI. Florida Southern (17-23, 8-15 Sunshine State Conference) was forced to use all four of its pitchers after the Spartans cut a 7-1 deficit down to one run in the sixth inning, but Jones came in for the final five outs to get her second win of the series.
The win by Florida Southern also virtually eliminated the Spartans (28-12, 15-8 SSC) from postseason consideration. Needing to sweep the doubleheader to win the SSC title and an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, the Spartans instead saw it go to Saint Leo, which had taken two-of-three from Rollins on Thursday and Friday. Ranked No. 10 in the South Region poll, it was unlikely Tampa would be able to move up high enough to receive an at-large bid.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME ONE:
- Though neither team scored in the first inning, both of them had good opportunities. The Moccasins put their first two batters of the game on base with a single by Klumpp and walk by Bell but left them at second and third. The Spartans received a pair of walks, but Klumpp made another spectacular running catch in the gap in left center and catcher Zierra Flodman picked Ellyse Pillers off second base for the final out of the inning.
- The scoring started in the top of the second inning. A base hit by Makayla Deuberry and walk by Donna Ryan gave the Mocs two base runners and they came home on back-to-back two-out singles by Klumpp and Bell. Another single by Erica Morrissey made it 3-0.
- The Mocs left the bases loaded in the top of the third but came back with two more runs in the fourth. That inning started with singles by Klumpp and Bell, and both of them came in to score on a base hit by Leah Pemberton.
- The Spartans got on the board in the bottom of the fourth with three straight two-out singles, starting with one from the number nine hitter, Shelby Press, and ending with an RBI from Taylor Farrell. The Mocs then answered with two more in the top of the fifth, one scoring on a hit by Klein that was punched through the left side of the infield and past the leftfielder for an RBI triple. The second one scored on a fly ball by Bell that made the score 7-1.
- The next five runs of the game were scored by Tampa over the fifth and sixth innings as the Spartans drew within a run. An RBI double by Corynn Miner produced the first one and two more scored on a double by Press, leaving the score 7-4 at the end of five innings. A two-run single by Maddie Farrell in the sixth made it a 7-6 game and was the last of six hits for the Spartans in those two innings.
- With the Florida Southern lead down to one, head coach Chris Bellotto turned to Jones to hold the lead after the senior had pitched an 8-inning shutout against the Spartans Friday night. The fourth pitcher of the game for Florida Southern, Jones slammed the door by retiring all five batters she faced. One of those outs came with the tying run in scoring position but Jones got the final out of the sixth inning by striking out Miner. The offense then gave her two more runs to work with in the seventh, with Deuberry reaching on an infield hit to start the inning before Klein and Bell drove in two runs for the final 9-6 margin.
- Jones got the win by pitching the final 1.2 innings, following Hannah Loyer, Kristen Beacham and Kelli Gault. Loyer was the starter and tossed 3.0 scoreless innings but was lifted to start the fourth after allowing two hits and four walks with three strikeouts. Miner took the loss after pitching the first 2.0 innings and giving up the first three runs on five hits with no strikeouts and two walks. Makaleigh Dooley, who went 3-for-3 with a walk at the plate, pitched the final 5.0 innings for Tampa, giving up six runs (four earned) on seven hits with one strikeout and four walks.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS OF GAME ONE:
- The 15 combined runs made the game the highest scoring between the two teams since an 11-4 win by Florida Southern in 2003. It equaled the second highest scoring game between the Mocs and Spartans all-time, surpassed only by a 13-9 Florida Southern win in 1997.
- Jones was awarded the win based on a provision that allows a scorer to give it to the most effective relief pitcher if the starter does not go the required 4.0 innings.
- Klumpp had her second 3-hit game of the season, with both coming in the last two weeks. Her sacrifice bunt in the top of the seventh led to another Florida Southern run as well. She also made two impressive plays in left, taking a hit away from Bre Setree in the first inning by going into the gap, and then going to the line for a catch to deny Laurie Kostecka in the fifth inning.
- Bell had a perfect game with two hits in two at-bats, one walk and two sacrifice flies. She also robbed Setree of a hit with a running catch in deep center in the fourth inning, a play that likely saved two runs.
- Deuberry had two hits and a walk, and Ryan walked twice, reached once when her sacrifice bunt was thrown away for an error, and scored three runs.
- Klein extended her hitting streak to seven games overall and is 10-for-15 in the last two series.
UP NEXT: Florida Southern and Tampa will end the season with the second game of their doubleheader .