LAKELAND, FLA. – Florida Southern had Nova Southeastern on the ropes early Friday night and took a 2-0 lead into the middle innings, but the Sharks used four RBI from Suka Van Gurp and a four-run fourth inning to take the lead and went on to a 7-2 win over the Moccasins.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- The Moccasins (2-3, 0-1 Sunshine State Conference) had the bases loaded with none out in the bottom of the first inning, but Nova's Lexie Storrer escaped without giving up a run. Shortstop Tia Williams made a nice stop on a ball hit by Jessica Trana and got a force at the plate for the first out before Storrer got a strikeout and a ground ball hit back to the pitcher's circle for the second and third outs.
- The Mocs started the second inning with back-to-back singles from Maddi Conner and Makayla Deuberry, and a bunt by Taylor Davis moved them into scoring position. Jadin Dewith and Celia Higgins then followed with two more hits, each driving in a run, to put the Mocs ahead 2-0.
- Nova Southeastern (7-4, 1-0 SSC) got on the board in the top of the third after its first two batters also singled, with an outfield error putting runners at first and third for Van Gurp. The reigning SSC Player-of-the-Week hit a flare into shallow right field that drove second baseman Meghan Sexton back for a tough catch, but it was enough to allow Tia Williams to tag at third and come in with the Sharks' first run.
- The Sharks again put their first two runners on base in the top of the fourth, this time on a walk by Keeley Mayers and an attempted sacrifice that went for an error. After Brooke Ferguson was hit by a pitch to load the bases, Van Gurp came through again for the Sharks, ripping a double to left that cleared the bases and put Nova ahead 4-2. She later scored on an infield hit by Sydney Anderson.
- Nova scored its final two runs in the seventh, the third time in the game in which the Sharks had their first two batters of the inning reach base. A double by Anderson and bunt single by Storrer provided the runners, with Mayers driving in the first one with a single, and Storrer scoring on a fielder's choice ground out.
- The Moccasins had hits in all but one inning off Storrer, but left 10 runners on base and had another erased on a double play. Storrer improved to 5-2 with the complete game, scattering nine hits, striking out three and walking two.
- Aubrey Ehlers fell to 2-1 with the loss, pitching a total of 4.0 innings, giving up three runs (only one earned) on four hits. She struck out one and walked three. Ehlers left the game with none out and two on in the fourth inning, but came back in the seventh for the final three outs. She faced only two batters to get all three of them. After a force out at second base, Ehlers grabbed a line drive hit by Williams and turned it into a double play by catching Kayla Kight too far off the bag at first. Kristen Beacham pitched 3.0 innings for the Mocs in her season debut and allowed four runs on five hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Dewith and Higgins each had two hits for Florida Southern at the top of the lineup, with Dewith also drawing a walk. Higgins had one of the game's best defensive plays when she nipped Williams with a strong throw to first in the top of the fifth inning, preventing the Nova leadoff batter from reaching on what would have been an infield single. Both Dewith and Higgins had their first RBI on the season and the two freshmen are hitting .471 and .357 respectively. Dewith has a .500 on-base percentage and Higgins is at .471.
- Deuberry also had two hits for the Moccasins, her second multi-hit game of the season to push her average up to .400.
- Trana went 1-for-3 and was hit by a pitch and has hit safely in all five games this season. Zierra Flodman also reached twice in four trips to the plate with a single and a walk.
- Van Gurp went 2-for-3 with four RBI for Nova, giving her 13 RBI on the year. She was a Second Team All-American for West Texas A&M last year after hitting .424 with 11 homers and 41 RBI.
- Nova batters were hit by a pitch three times Friday night, giving them 22 in the first 11 games. It was the fifth time this year the Sharks were hit three times.
- The Sharks have won seven straight after an 0-4 start.
Florida Southern and Nova Southeastern continue their three-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m.