DAYTONA BEACH – Raquelli Bianco pitched and helped hit Embry-Riddle to a 5-1 win in game one of Saturday's doubleheader and then helped deal Florida Southern an even more painful loss in game two. With Bianco driving in the tying run with two out in the bottom of the seventh inning, and the winning run scoring on a wild pitch, the Eagles completed a sweep with a 4-3 victory.
For the second time in less than 24 hours, the Eagles (15-6) had a first-inning home run that helped them take control of game one right from the outset. Having already scored a run on a wild pitch following a leadoff double by Anna Battison, the Eagles got another one when Raquelli Bianco pulled a pitch deep down the right field line for her fifth home run of the season.
The Eagles added two more runs in the bottom of the second after a walk by Gabriella Obia and a single by Natalie Morales put runners at first and third with one out. A double steal produced the first of those runs and an error allowed the second one to score, putting Embry-Riddle up 4-0.
In the top of the fifth, the Moccasins (8-12-1) put their leadoff hitter on base for the fifth inning in a row, but it was the only time they could get the runner home. Senior Jordan Alexander had the hit which started the inning and junior Erica Morrissey provided the RBI with a double into left center.
Led by Alexander, who went 3-for-4 for the seventh 3-hit game of her career, the Moccasins out-hit the Eagles in game one 7-4, but went 3-for-18 with runners on base. Senior Maggie Roberts had two hits for the Mocs, and Morrissey and junior Erin Klein each had one.
Junior Sidney Koch pitched the first three innings and took the loss, falling to 3-3. The Eagles scored four runs against her (three earned) on three hits, and Koch struck out one and walked two. Junior Brandi Jones pitched the fourth and fifth innings, and the Eagles scored an unearned run against her in the fifth. The only base runners against Jones came on an infield hit by Battison and an error. She had no walks and no strikeouts. Junior Hannah Loyer pitched a 1-2-3 sixth with one strikeout.
In addition to her first-inning home run, Bianco was also the winning pitcher for Embry-Riddle, going the distance and giving up one run on seven hits. She struck out four and walked one, and is now 5-2 on the season.
In game two, the teams combined for only one hit through the first three innings before each scored two runs in the fourth. The Moccasins had gone down in order three times against Kassidy Simons when Alexander walked to give them their first base runner leading off the top of the fourth, and Morrissey followed with a single. RBI singles by Roberts and Koch eventually brought them around to score, and the Mocs had a 2-0 lead.
An error started the bottom of the fourth inning and it turned into a run immediately when Robi Zimmerman doubled in Bianco for the Eagles' first run of the game. Another double by Obia tied the game 2-2 and ended the day for FSC starting pitcher Jessica Trana. Jones came in for the Mocs at that point and left runners at second and third with a pop-up and strikeout.
The score remained 2-2 until the seventh inning when both sides scored again. The Moccasins took a 3-2 lead in the top half on an RBI single by Morrissey, which followed hits by Klein and Alexander. But the Eagles came back with two in the bottom half, both of them coming with two out.
Rae Heuer started the Embry-Riddle seventh with a base hit up the middle, the first hit allowed by Jones since entering the game in the fourth. Morales tried bunting her into scoring position but Morrissey came charging in from third base and nipped pinch-runner Chanley Burge at second for a force out. That turned the lineup over and Battison had the Eagles' second hit of the inning to put runners at first and second. Freshman shortstop Makayla Deuberry then came up with a big defensive play for the Moccasins by going into the hole to take a hit away from Kailah Rain and turned it into a force out at third.
Still leading by a run and needing only one out to get the win, the Moccasins were unable to close out the game. Bianco drilled a single into right that knocked in Battison with the tying run and sent Rain to third. The Mocs brought Loyer into the game to face Zimmerman, but her first pitch skipped to the backstop, allowing Rain to score the winning run.
Simons got the win for Embry-Riddle to move to 6-1 on the season, going the distance and giving up three runs on eight hits with seven strikeouts and one walk.
Jones suffered the loss for Florida Southern, falling to 4-4 as she gave up two runs on three hits with two strikeouts and one walk. Jones and Trana each pitched 3.1 innings, with Trana giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits with no strikeouts and one walk as the starter.
Alexander followed her 3-hit game in Saturday's opener with two more hits and a walk in the nightcap. Morrissey also had two hits for the Moccasins, who out-hit the Eagles in both games Saturday and 18-14 in the 3-game series.
Florida Southern will open a 7-game home stand Tuesday when it hosts Lock Haven (Pa.) in a doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m.