ST. AUGUSTINE, FL – Freshman Kristen Beacham held Flagler to two runs through the first five innings, but a 2-run homer by Morgan Murphy in the bottom of the sixth inning doubled the lead and sent the Saints on to a 5-0 win over Florida Southern.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
- Flagler got on the board first with two runs in the bottom of the fourth. Garland Evans, the Saints' number eight hitter in the lineup, doubled with one out, and after a wild pitch and a walk, the Saints had runners at the corners for leadoff batter Whitney Woodard. Woodard doubled down the line in left to drive in one run and Murphy followed with a single to left that drove in another.
- Florida Southern was held to two base runners over the first five innings by Flagler freshman pitcher Ally Marcano, a 2-out single by junior Erica Morrissey in the first and a 2-out walk by sophomore Makayla Deuberry in the second. In the top of the sixth, however, the Mocs had three base runners but were unable to score thanks to Flagler third baseman Maria Kappos.
- Junior Ashlyn Worcester started the top of the sixth with an infield hit but was thrown out at second on a ground ball to short. After a sacrifice bunt by junior Desirae Klumpp, Marcano walked Morrissey and sophomore Zierra Flodman to load the bases with two out. That brought Leah Pemberton to the plate and the fifth-year senior ripped an 0-1 pitch that was headed into left field for a potential game-tying hit. Instead, Kappos was able to make the catch with the ball almost past her.
- After surviving the top of the sixth, Flagler struck for three runs in the bottom of the inning, the first two of which scored on a home run by Murphy. A walk and a passed ball put another running in scoring position for Maddy Murphy, who singled into center to give the Saints their final run.
- Beacham (1-1) was lifted after the walk in the sixth inning and allowed four earned runs on nine hits with two strikeouts and five walks. Senior Hannah Loyer got the final two outs, giving up one hit and striking out one.
- Marcano (2-1) earned the win for Flagler by allowing just two hits, striking out six and walking three.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Further research during the week revealed Beacham was just the second freshman pitcher in team history to start a season opener, which she did last week against Chadron State. The only other to do so was Rhonda Kaiser in 1985, which was the first year of fast-pitch softball at Florida Southern following three years of slow-pitch.
- Beacham got defensive help in the second inning from freshman first baseman Alex Mace and Bell in center. Mace threw a runner out at third on an attempted sacrifice bunt and Shannon Bell tracked down a fly ball hit to the fence in center. That left three Flagler runners on base and kept the game scoreless at that point.
- Mace also had two hard-hit balls that nearly resulted in hits, but instead went for a pair of tough outs. The first was a bullet hit to Morgan Murphy at second, and the other was a ball up the middle that Marcano deflected to Murphy for a 1-4-3 ground out.
- Florida Southern will play later this evening (5:30) against Georgia Southwestern.