LAKELAND – Jenna Weldon did it all for Florida Southern Monday night in a pair of run-rule wins over Chestnut Hill. Pitching and hitting in game one, the freshman hurled Florida Southern's first perfect game in seven years and added a 2-run double that blew the game open and helped the Moccasin pick up an 8-0 win in six innings. In game two, Weldon added an RBI single that was part of a big first inning while starting at third base, as the Mocs went on to win 9-1 in five innings.
The Moccasins (14-5) had 11 hits in each game and had hits from 11 different players in the doubleheader. Weldon was the main event though, setting down all 18 batters she faced in game one with 12 strikeouts in the process. It was the Mocs' second no-hitter in the last two weeks, following one by Kelli Gault on February 27 against Wheeling Jesuit. Gault was the winning pitcher in game two Monday night, limiting the Griffins (0-2) to two hits in another complete game effort.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME ONE:
- For four innings, Chestnut Hill's Hunter Irvin was able to match Weldon on the scoreboard if not the stat line as she worked around four hits, a walk and three errors behind her to keep the Moccasins from scoring. The Mocs left seven runners on base in the first four innings and also had a runner thrown out stealing. Six of those runners were left in scoring position, but that changed dramatically in the bottom of the fifth after a pitching change.
- Facing Julianna Barry to start the fifth, Shannon Bell drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. A dropped fly ball in center allowed Kensie Green to reach base and moved Bell to third, and Bell scored when Zierra Flodman hit another fly ball that was dropped in the outfield. Weldon followed that with a two-run double that made the score 3-0, and she later scored on a single by Makayla Deuberry, giving Florida Southern four unearned runs in the inning.
- The Moccasins started the bottom of the sixth with three straight hits off Barry, a double by Jessica Trana, a single by Green and a double by Flodman that made it 5-0. Weldon almost made it four straight hits when she ripped one from new pitcher Samantha Vogel only to have it caught by third baseman Jocelyn Porrino for the first out of the inning. It only delayed the inevitable. When Alex Mace reached on Chestnut Hill's sixth error of the game, the bases were loaded for Deuberry who walked to force in another run. Lindsey Wilson then ended the game with a single through the right side of the infield that plated pinch-runner Alli Carroll and Mace with the final runs of the game.
- The hit by Wilson, her second of the game, secured the perfect game for Weldon who never had to pitch the seventh inning. That meant her night in the pitching circle ended with four straight strikeouts, and she struck out the side three times. All but one of those was swinging. Weldon even made the game's best defensive play when she snagged a line drive hit by Brielle Riotte in the very end of her glove during the top of the second.
- Weldon was making just the second start of her career, with the other a three-inning stint against Western Ontario on February 20 where she did not allow a run but had a no-decision. She was the winner in relief for Florida Southern in its final game over the weekend at Lynn, making her 2-0 on the season. She's the first Moccasin pitcher with a perfect game since April 21, 2011, when Christine Clark set down all 21 batters she faced in a 1-0 win over Florida Tech at Barnett Field. It's the 17th perfect game in team history, and the first complete game perfect game ever thrown by a freshman. The Mocs did have two freshmen combine for one in 2002 when Jenny Buckman and Alcira Adriatico did that to Bates in a 17-0 win.
- Barry took the loss for Chestnut Hill by allowing seven runs on six hits in 1.0 inning, though only two of those were earned.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME TWO:
- The Moccasins continued their scoring onslaught with four runs in the bottom of the first in game two, picking up four hits and two walks while Chestnut Hill committed one error, threw three wild pitches and had one passed ball. Green's sacrifice fly drove in Bell, who had singled, with the first run of the game, Flodman had an RBI double, Weldon had an RBI single as the Mocs' third baseman, and another run scored on a wild pitch.
- The Mocs added two more in the second on an error and an RBI single by Green, and Wilson made it 7-0 in the bottom of the third when her second hit of the game drove in Mace, who had doubled leading off the inning.
- The Griffins picked up their first hit of the night in the top of the fourth when Lily Winn singled with one out, took second on a wild pitch, and scored on a double by Allesandra Messina. Those were the only hits allowed by Gault, who finished the game and improved to 5-2 on the season. She struck out three walked no one.
- Florida Southern ended the game in the bottom of the fifth, with nearly all of the damage done by pinch-hitters. It started with a leadoff single by Jordan Sheppard and continued when Shannon Reilly reached on a throwing error that put runners at the corners. A groundout by Annie Tracey moved Reilly over, though Sheppard had to stay at third, and Carroll was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Sam Gibson, the fifth straight pinch-hitter for the Mocs, then singled to right, bringing in Sheppard and putting the Mocs ahead 8-1. The bases were still full for Ashlyn Worcester, who hit a ground ball to Winn at third, but her throw home pulled catcher Jordan Clark off the plate as Reilly crossed with the final run.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- Not only did Weldon throw the 17th perfect game in team history (15 complete games, two combined), it was the 95th no-hitter the Moccasins have had in their fast-pitch that began in 1985. The last time they had two in one season was 2007 when Megan Brown threw five of them by herself (two 7-inning games and three 5-inning, run-rule games). Florida Southern hadn't had two different pitchers with no-hitters in the same season since 2006 when the Mocs had three do it (Megan Brown three times, Stacey Bronson once, Marissa Chase once, and a combination of all three in one game). Weldon is also the first freshman to throw a no-hitter since Megan Brown had two in 2004.
- The 12 strikeouts for Weldon marked the first time a Moccasin pitcher reached double figures since Hannah Loyer fanned 10 against Ferris State in 2016, and they were the most since Brandi Jones had 13 in a 2015 game against Southwest Baptist.
- Four different players had two RBI in the first game: Weldon, Flodman, Deuberry, and Wilson. Every starter at least one hit except for Bell, who had her 14-game hitting streak come to an end, though she did walk and score a run.
- The Moccasins had a season-high five doubles in the first game, including two by Trana.
- Wilson went 4-for-5 with three RBI in the doubleheader and was hit by a pitch once.
- Green was 4-for-6 with two RBI and a stolen base, and Trana was 3-for-5 with a walk.
- Sheppard and Gibson both had their first hits for the Moccasins.
- The last time Florida Southern swept a doubleheader by the run-rule in both games was February 27, 2009, against Armstrong Atlantic. Those games, 10-0 and 8-0 wins in five innings, were played at Flagler and featured a no-hitter by Brittany Minton and 2-hitter by Morgan Brown and Christine Clark.
- The Mocs were playing Chestnut Hill for the first time. The Griffins had trouble getting to Florida due to weather delays in Philadelphia that kept them grounded and forced them to cancel their first two doubleheaders in Florida over the weekend. They flew in Monday morning in order to arrive in time for Monday night's games.
UP NEXT: Florida Southern hosts Hillsdale College in a doubleheader Wednesday at noon.