Top-20 Softball Moments at Barnett Field, #16 (April 21, 2011)

Top-20 Softball Moments at Barnett Field, #16 (April 21, 2011)

Florida Southern has had 16 perfect games in its history, and if that isn't the all-time NCAA Division II record, it has to be close. Nine of them occurred at Barnett Field, but only four were full-length games that did not involve the run-rule, and one of those has already earned a spot on this list (see #19). Furthermore, of the 16 perfect games thrown by Moccasin pitchers, only four have come since the turn of the century. Three of them were 5-inning games, two of those were played at neutral sites, and one of those that occurred at Barnett Field involved two freshmen who split the game in their college debut against a Division III school from Maine. While that's an impressive start, it did not make our top-20 list, otherwise it would not have been mentioned in this space.

The one that did make #16 occurred on April 21, 2011, and it remains the only 7-inning perfect game thrown by a Moccasin pitcher this century. Christine Clark did the honors that day against Florida Tech, and she nearly had to go more than seven innings to do it. In 2011, Clark was a junior and had already been a member of the all-conference team once in her career, making it as a utility player her freshman year. Throughout her career, she played the outfield, first base, and occasionally served as the DP, but she's most remembered for her pitching. She's the last Moccasin to have a season ERA under 1.00, which she did as a senior, but if there was one game where she really took off, this was it.

A master of precision, Clark threw 92 pitches in retiring all 21 Panthers she faced in the opener of a 3-game conference series. She went to a 3-ball count only twice, once in the first inning and once in the second. By the time she reached the seventh inning, she needed only five more pitches to complete the game, getting ground balls to first baseman Brittany Martin and third baseman Erin Foley before she ended it herself with a routine grounder back to the pitcher's circle, which she tossed to Martin for the final out. Clark's final stat line showed four strikeouts, 12 groundouts, and five fly ball outs. Only three of those fly balls had to be caught by outfielders.

Twice the Panthers nearly reached her for hits. One was a fly ball into short left-center that centerfielder Dani Blake flagged down to start the top of the fifth. One inning later, Clark deflected a ground ball hit up the middle that was then fielded by shortstop Dezirae Parsons, whose quick throw to first was just in time to get the runner. Yet with the game still scoreless, it was beginning to look like Clark would have to remain perfect for a lot longer than seven innings. Her teammates did not let her down though.

Held to just two hits and four baserunners themselves through the first five innings by Florida Tech's Brianna Barth, the Mocs pushed through a run in the bottom of the sixth. It started with a leadoff single by Karlyn Scott, who took second and third on ground balls by Foley and Martin. Randi Grimes made it count with a base hit up the middle, bringing home Scott with the only run of the game.

Of the 16 perfect games the Moccasins have had, it's one of only two in which they've scored less than six runs, and the only one decided that late in the contest.

More on the Top-20 Countdown
#20 on the Countdown: March 17, 1982
#19 on the Countdown: April 16, 1990
#18 on the Countdown: February 10, 2016
#17 on the Countdown: April 8, 2000