LAKELAND – Call it whatever you want, a battle royal, slugfest, knock-down-drag-out, or even a donnybrook, but whatever it was, Saturday's doubleheader between Florida Southern and Barry at Chris Bellotto Field will go down as one of the more memorable between the two long-time Sunshine State Conference rivals. Twice during the first game, the Moccasins trailed by four runs, and twice they came back before securing an 11-8 win behind the big bats of Jessica Trana, Kensie Green, and Makayla Deuberry. In the second game, they almost had the tables turned as Barry nearly erased a four-run lead by Florida Southern in the top of the seventh before Aubrey Ehlers forced the door shut in a warrior-like performance that gave the Mocs a 7-6 victory and their first-ever three-game sweep of the Buccaneers.
Barry (17-19, 2-10) scored four runs in the top of the third inning of game one to take a 4-0 lead only to have Florida Southern (22-10, 9-9) come right back in the bottom half of the inning to tie the game 4-4. The Bucs had another four-spot in the top of the sixth, but the Moccasins erupted for seven runs in their half to get the 11-8 win. Trana's bases-clearing three-run double tied the game and a single by Green gave the Mocs the lead. Deuberry, who had a leadoff single to start the bottom of the sixth, came up with another single in the same inning to drive in two insurance runs.
In game two, the Mocs got a two-run single by Alli Carroll and a two-run double from Alex Mace in the bottom of the third and were ahead 7-2 at that point, but the Bucs mounted a comeback of their own. They scored three of their runs in the top of the seventh after the Mocs committed two errors and had the go-ahead run in scoring position before Ehlers worked out of trouble by fielding a ground ball in the pitcher's circle for the final out of the game.
The 11-8 score in game one marked the highest scoring game the two teams have ever played against each other in 126 all-time meetings, surpassing a 10-8 win by Barry in 2011. That was the only other game in the last 23 years, in which either team scored in double digits against the other. Combined with the score in game two, it was also the highest scoring doubleheader between the Moccasins and Buccaneers, surpassing the previous high of 25 runs in a Florida Southern sweep in 1987, and a split in 2016. It was the 49th doubleheader the teams have played altogether.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME ONE:
- Barry and Florida Southern each had scoring threats in the first and second innings, but it took until the third for either team to put runs on the board. It started in the top half when Peyton Rawls was hit by a pitch, and Alayna Gallagher reached on an infield single. Anieliese Palmeiro then hit a sinking line drive into short right field toward the foul line that bounced all the way into the corner for what was ruled a triple, bringing in Rawls and Gallagher with the first two runs. Kelli Gault nearly avoided any further damage when she threw Palmeiro out on a busted squeeze play, and Lindsey Wilson later threw a runner out at the plate on a base hit by Lynsey Duncan. But with Duncan taking second on the throw home, and Geneva Santos on base ahead of her with another hit-by-pitch, the Bucs still had two runners in scoring position, and they both came home on a two-out single down the left field line by Brittany Phillips.
- Down 4-0, the Moccasins started the bottom of third with four consecutive hits off Santos. The first was a hustle double by Desirae Klumpp who dropped a hit into short left center, and Shannon Bell followed with a base hit to make it a 4-1 game. Trana then singled to put runners at the corners, Zierra Flodman doubled in Bell, and back-to-back sacrifice flies by Jenna Weldon and Green tied the game at 4-4.
- The game was still tied when the Bucs opened the sixth inning with consecutive singles by pinch-hitter Kristina Osorio and Taylor Checkley out of the eighth and ninth positions. Checkley's hit looped over the head of Weldon at third, who was in to protect against the bunt, and it never left the infield, but it ended the day for Gault. Kristen Beacham entered for the Moccasins and hit Rawls to load the bases and Gallagher followed with a line drive triple into left-center that cleared them and gave Barry a 7-4 lead. The Bucs then executed their next squeeze place as Palmeiro's bunt brought in Gallagher to make the score 8-4.
- Just as they did three innings earlier, the Moccasins rallied, but this time did not stop with four runs. Sending 11 runners to the plate in their biggest inning of the season, the Mocs scored seven times off relief pitcher Christie Falcon. Deuberry, Mace, and Wilson had three straight singles to start the inning, and a sacrifice fly by Klumpp got the first run home. Following Bell's third hit of the game, Trana roped a pitch over the head of Duncan in right for a double that cleared the bases and tied the score 8-8. Three batters later, and after Carroll was hit by a pitch as a pinch-hitter, Green singled up the middle to drive in Trana with the go-ahead run and took second on the throw home. Deuberry followed that with another hit for two more runs.
- In the top of the seventh, Phillips led things off with a single, but when Sam Busekrus hit a line drive to Trana, the Moccasin first baseman turned it into an unassisted double play. Beacham then got pinch-hitter Jordan Cooke on a called third strike to end the game.
- Beacham, who was the winning pitcher in Friday night's game as a starter, got the win again by pitching 2.0 innings and giving up two runs on three hits with one strikeout and no walks. She's now 7-1 on the season. Falcon, who was the losing pitcher as a starter Friday, fell to 9-7 with the loss in relief on Saturday. She had won seven straight decisions coming into the weekend.
- Bell went 3-for-3 with a walk for Florida Southern, while Trana, Flodman, Green, and Deuberry all had two of the Moccasins' 14 hits.
- Duncan had three hits for Barry, and Gallagher, Palmeiro, and Phillips each had two of the Bucs' 13.
HOW IT HAPPENED IN GAME TWO:
- The second game of Saturday's doubleheader was tied 2-2 after two innings. The Moccasins used a leadoff single by Klumpp, stolen base, throwing error, and single by Trana to score their first run in the bottom of the first; and a walk by Carroll, another throwing error, passed ball, and double by Wilson to score another run in the bottom of the second. In between, the Buccaneers received a two-run homer from Cooke, which was the first one ever hit at Chris Bellotto Field, which debuted this February and was hosting its 22nd game.
- The Moccasins broke the tie with five runs in the bottom of the third, which started with back-to-back singles by Bell and Trana. Flodman drove in the go-ahead run with a double to deep left, and after Deuberry drew a one-out walk to load the bases, Caroll drove in two more runs with a single, and Mace followed with a two-run double.
- The Buccaneers went to the bullpen after the third inning, replacing Lynsey Duncan with Santos, and Santos shut out the Moccasins over the next three innings by limiting them to just one hit, a double by Trana in the fourth. She retired the final eight batters she faced, which gave Barry time to mount a comeback. One of those runs came from Duncan, who remained in the game as the Bucs' left fielder, tripled in the top of the fourth, and came home on a Florida Southern error.
- Still trailing 7-3, the Bucs were the beneficiaries of two Florida Southern errors in the top of the seventh. They came sandwiched around a walk by Rawls and resulted in one run that got the Bucs one step closer. Ehlers got the second out of the inning, but a wild pitch and a softly hit two-out single into short right center by Maddy VonHagel produced two more runs, and the Bucs were within a run. When Osorio singled and the Mocs were unable to throw VonHagel out at third, Osorio took the extra base and the Bucs had runners at second and third with two out. Ehlers got Duncan to hit one back to the circle though and threw her out at first to end the game.
- Ehlers, who pitched two innings Friday night for a save, battled her way to a complete game win to improve her record to 5-3. She gave up eight hits and one walk, and worked around three errors in the game that led to four unearned runs. Three of those unearned runs came in the seventh inning. She struck out two, walked one, and helped herself in the field with four assists.
- Duncan took the loss, falling to 1-2 in only her third start of the season, and her first since the opening weekend. She gave up seven runs (five earned) on eight hits with one strikeout and two walks.
- Seven different Moccasins had hits, with Trana collecting three as their only player with multiple hits. Duncan was the only Barry player with more than one.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS:
- The last time Florida Southern swept a season series from Barry was in 1995 when the SSC still used a home-and-away scheduling format with one doubleheader at each site. That was changed to a three-game series in 2004.
- Florida Southern and Barry combined for 27 hits in game one, the most for any Florida Southern game since the Moccasins combined with Florida Tech for 29 in an 11-6 loss in 2015. Florida Southern's 11 runs were a season-high, and the 14 hits in game one tied a season high previously accomplished against Western Ontario and Lynn.
- The Moccasins hit double digits in runs against Barry for the first time since a 10-2, six-inning win in 1995. That's one of only three times either team has done that against each other in the last 28 years covering 106 games.
- Flodman has extended her hitting streak to 10 games and has reached base in 16 straight, while Trana has hit in seven straight.
- Bell has five games this year with at least three hits after doing that in game one, and Trana did it in game two for the fourth time. Bell is now hitting .613 (19-for-31) with runners in scoring position and was intentionally walked once on Saturday. Both players had six hits in the series, with Bell going 6-for-10 with two walks, and Trana going 6-for-12.
UP NEXT: Florida Southern will travel to Saint Leo for another three-game conference series on Wednesday and Thursday. The first game is Wednesday at 7 p.m., with a doubleheader the following night at 5 p.m.