FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2011
Softball sweeps Mercer in A-Sun opener, 7-0 & 1-0 (9)
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Junior Sarah Sigrest tossed a combined 11 scoreless innings, while freshman Miranda Fleming had a walk-off single in the night cap to help JU softball team sweep Mercer, 7-0 & 1-0 (9), in the A-Sun opener at the JU Softball Complex.

Sigrest (11-4) earned both wins in the circle after striking out seven on one hit in seven innings to help the Dolphins (20-12, 2-0 A-Sun) secure the game one victory, while adding four scoreless relief frames on one hit in the night cap.

Fleming lifted JU past the Bears (16-14, 0-4) in game two with a RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning.

“This was a good way to start A-Sun play,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “We played two great games - even if we would have come on the short end of the second contest. I was very pleased with how we hit and how we well Sarah and Olivia (Kline) performed in the circle. We need another effort like this to compete with Kennesaw State tomorrow.”

Offensively, freshman Jacey Warner finished two hits each game to pace the Dolphins, while juniors Kayla Ouellet and Amanda Schmidt each added three hits on the day. Sophomore Sarah Simon broke the JU home run record in game one with her 11th career blast and sophomore Olivia Kline had five scoreless innings in game two for the no-decision.

Mercer’s Kristin Marko had three hits between the two games to lead the Bears’ offense. Kari Chambers (7-6) took the loss in game one, allowing seven runs on 10 hits, five walks and six strikeouts, while Jeri Holtz (8-6) gave up the game-winning run in game two after 8.2 scoreless frames to get tagged with the loss.

In game one, junior Brittany Eppley picked up the first hit game in the third inning with a one-out single to left field, while Kline followed with a walk. After a strike out, Schmidt plated Eppley with a single to center field to give JU a 1-0 lead.

Senior Katie Kelly kept the fourth inning alive for JU with two-out single up the middle. Eppley walked in the next at bat before advancing to second by beating the throw on Kline’s fielder’s choice hit. Ouellet followed with a slow roller down the third base line, allowing Kelly to score for the 2-0 advantage.

Sigrest retired the first 12 Mercer batters before losing Tiffany Phillips in the fifth inning to a two-out walk. She got Kassie Bailey to line out to left field in the next at bat to end the inning.

With one out in the sixth inning, Ouellet reached on an infield single. Schmidt would strike out, but Simon followed with a two-run homer to center field to set the new JU career mark and make it a 5-0 lead. Freshman Karson Tuck walked and got pinch ran for by senior Annike Don, who scored in the next at-bat on a double by Fleming. The Dolphins made it 7-0 with a RBI single by Warner to plate Fleming.

Marko broke up Sigrest’s no-hit bid with a two-out double in the top of the seventh inning. Sigrest settled and induced a ground out by Randi Rea to secure the win.

With the contest scoreless in the ninth inning of game two, Phillips led off for Mercer with a double down the left field line. Heather Strange pinch ran for Phillips and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt. Sigrest showed great poise by striking out the next batter and getting a fly out to center to keep the game scoreless.

Warner recorded a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth inning, while Eppley walked in the next at-bat. Sophomore Morgan Kibler pinch ran for Warner and scored on the game-winning single by Fleming to shallow left field to help JU secure the sweep.

The Dolphins close their short two-day home stand tomorrow with an A-Sun doubleheader against Kennesaw State at 1 p.m.