LAKELAND – Junior Erica Morrissey and freshman Zierra Flodman added to their impressive April numbers Friday night, and freshman Hannah Whisman's big play in right field kept Florida Southern in the game, but a 5-run seventh inning allowed Eckerd to secure a 9-2 win over the Moccasins in the opener of their 3-game series.
Morrissey and Flodman each went 2-for-3 Friday night, and Morrissey scored both Moccasin runs after a double in the fourth and a double in the sixth. That made it a 4-2 game going into the final inning before the Tritons (28-23-1, 10-12 Sunshine State Conference) used two hits, four walks and an error to score their five runs in the top of the seventh.
Each team managed only a single base runner through the first three innings but Eckerd scored took a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth on a 2-run homer by Rachael Luckett. The Tritons made it 3-0 when Carrie Shere followed the home run with a walk and stolen base, and came around to score when Stephanie Wolfrom lined a hard shot off Flodman at third base that caromed all the way into short left center.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Moccasins (15-28-1, 7-14-1) got a double from Morrissey and single from Flodman to put runners at first and third with one out. With freshman pinch-runner Annemarie Tracey taking over for Flodman, the Moccasins executed a 2-out double steal that resulted in Morrissey scoring their first run of the game.
Eckerd scored once in the top of the fifth on an RBI double by Kaycie Duncan after Kiley King's blooper fell into short leftfield and kicked into foul territory for a leadoff double. It looked like another leadoff double by freshman pitcher Nikole Van Gennep in the top of the sixth might lead to another run by the Tritons, but Whisman later gunned down pinch-runner Avery Wakefield at the plate when she attempted to score from third on a fly ball hit by Dana Paul.
That play allowed Florida Southern to cut into the lead again in the bottom half of the sixth, which again featured a double by Morrissey and single by Flodman. Freshman Jessica Trana drove in Morrissey with a line drive that hit Van Gennep in the body and ricocheted over to third baseman Chelsea Armstrong. Even though the run scored, Armstrong was able to throw Trana out at first on a ball that was nearly up the middle for a base hit.
The Tritons then erupted in the top of the seventh, an inning that started with an infield single by King, who had three of Eckerd's nine hits in the game. The first run of the inning scored on an error, but the Tritons also got an RBI single from Wolfrom, a sacrifice fly from Van Gennep, and a bases-loaded walk from Paul before the final run scored on a wild pitch.
Van Gennep picked up the win for Eckerd by going the distance and giving up two runs on five hits with three strikeouts and no walks. She's now 16-17 on the season.
Junior Brandi Jones, who pitched the first six innings for the Moccasins, fell to 8-14, giving up four runs on seven hits with five strikeouts and two walks.
The two teams conclude the season with a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Barnett Field.