Morrissey and Roberts Help Spark Game Two Comeback as FSC Splits Doubleheader with Barry

Erica Morrissey
Erica Morrissey

LAKELAND – Erica Morrissey's 3-run double in the third inning started Florida Southern's comeback from a 4-run deficit, and an RBI single by her former junior college teammate Maggie Roberts put them ahead in the sixth inning to help the Moccasins finish their 3-game series against Barry with an 8-5 win Saturday afternoon. Earlier in the day, the Buccaneers used a 7-run fourth inning to defeat the Moccasins 9-3.

The teams combined for 25 runs on Saturday, making it the highest scoring doubleheader between them since 1987. They've played a total of 47 doubleheaders against each other, and the only other time they've put 25 runs on the board came that year when the Moccasins won both games, 12-2 and 11-0. With their total from Friday night's single game added in, it was also the highest scoring 3-game series the teams have played since the Sunshine State Conference adopted that schedule format in 2004.

In Saturday's first game the Moccasins (10-15-1, 3-5-1 Sunshine State Conference) led 3-1 after scoring three times in the bottom of the second inning, which started with a walk by Roberts. The senior first baseman had three walks in the doubleheader to go along with her game-winning RBI single in game two. Freshman Jessica Trana doubled her to third and when freshman Zierra Flodman hit a ground ball to second that was misplayed for an error, not only did Roberts score, so did Trana all the way from second. A second error on the same play put Flodman at second, and she too scored when sophomore Ashlyn Worcester's single into right was mishandled for Barry's third error in the span of two batters.

The Mocs' 3-1 lead lasted one inning before the Bucs had their 7-run fourth in which they sent 12 batters to the plate. The Buccaneers (12-9, 6-3) had three straight singles to start the frame, with Sam Busekrus driving in one run to make it 3-2. After loading the bases on a Moccasin error, the Buccaneers had five straight 1-out hits including a game-tying RBI single by Alayna Gallagher, though a 3-run double by Megan Copeland was the big blow. All of that put Barry ahead 8-3 and the Bucs tacked on another run in the seventh on Kayla Ogle's second RBI single of the game for the final margin.

The Moccasins had seven hits and three walks off Anieliese Palmeiro and base runners in every inning with Barry committing six errors in the game. Palmeiro managed to dodge any serious trouble though in part due to some defensive plays behind her, including a pair of nice stops in the sixth by third baseman Kristina Pazienza and shortstop Ashley Fernandez that cut off the scoring in that inning. Palmeiro had four strikeouts on her pitching line too as she improved to 4-2.

Morrissey and Worcester each had two of the seven hits off Palmeiro, and Flodman had a hit and a walk.

Junior Brandi Jones fell to 5-6 with the loss, pitching the first 3.1 innings for Florida Southern.

In game two, the Buccaneers used five hits in the top of the third inning to take a 4-0 lead, with the first two runs scoring on a triple by Lynsey Duncan. RBI singles by Dee Espinosa and Geneva Santos produced the other two runs before the Mocs got out of the inning thanks to Flodman behind the plate. The freshman catcher made a diving catch in foul territory on a popped-up bunt attempt by Lexi Corrente and scrambled to her feet in time to make a throw to third base that doubled off Busekrus desperately trying to return to the bag.

Flodman wasn't finished either. By the end of the game she'd started another inning-ending double play by picking Duncan off first base, she singled and scored in the bottom of the fourth, and later delivered an RBI single that plated the Mocs' final run in the sixth.

It was Morrissey's double in the third that gave Florida Southern its first runs though and it cleared the bases following singles by juniors Hannah Loyer, Beri Scott and Erin Klein. It gives the junior third baseman a league-leading 11 doubles for the season, and it brought the Mocs within 4-3 at that point in the game.

After swapping runs in the fourth inning, the Mocs still trailed 5-4 going into the bottom of the sixth. A 1-out single by Scott gave the Mocs their first base runner of the inning and a Barry error on a Jordan Alexander sacrifice bunt put runners at first and second. An infield single by Klein loaded the bases for Morrissey who hit a bouncer down to third that should have resulted in a force out at the plate. However, the throw was wide and Scott was able to tap-dance around the Buccaneer catcher for the tying run. Roberts then singled through the right side of the infield to put the Mocs ahead 6-5, Trana walked with the bases still loaded, and Flodman singled up the middle for another run. Loyer almost did more damage for the Moccasins with a deep fly ball to left but the ball was caught by Copeland who turned it into a double play.

Loyer was one of four Moccasins who had two hits in the game and she was also the winning pitcher with 5.0 innings in relief of Trana. Loyer (2-4) gave up just one run on four hits with two strikeouts and no walks. It's the second time this year the junior has given the Mocs a chance to rally from a 4-run deficit with five strong innings out of the bullpen. She did the same in a 4-4, 10-inning tie at Lynn on February 20.

In addition to Loyer's two hits, the Mocs received 2-hit games from Klein, Flodman and Scott. Morrissey, Roberts and Trana all had one hit and one walk with Barry using three pitchers in the game.

Geneva Santos, who started and pitched the first 5.1 innings, took the loss for Barry, falling to 8-4. She gave up six runs (three earned) on eight hits with one strikeout and two walks. Barry pitching gave up 11 hits in the game total.

Florida Southern will play again on Tuesday when it hosts Valdosta State in a 5 p.m. doubleheader.