FRIDAY, MAY 06, 2011
Softball sweeps Stetson in regular season finale
The JU softball team set the program record for home wins and hit the 40-win plateau on the same night after sweeping Stetson, 8-0 (5) & 2-1 (8), in the regular season finale on Friday evening at the JU Softball Complex.

The Dolphins (40-14, 18-2 A-Sun) scored eight runs on 12 hits in the final two innings of game one, while senior Katie Kelly hit a two-out, walk-off homer in her final at-bat at the JU Softball Complex in game two to help the team secure a school-best 22 wins at home in 2011.

“This was a great way to end the regular season,” said JU head coach Amanda Lehotak. “It took us a while to get going, but we played really solid tonight. Sarah (Sigrest) was sharp in the circle and I was really happy Katie ended her how career like they way she did. Overall, we now have a clean slate as we enter into the A-Sun Tournament so we will now have to get ready for that challenge.”

Junior Sarah Sigrest (23-5) earned both wins in the circle for JU. She fanned eight batters and scattered two hits in five scoreless innings during the first game before striking out nine Hatters (19-31, 4-16) and allowing just one hit in six scoreless relief frames of game two.

Sigrest finished A-Sun play with a 12-1 mark and a 0.78 ERA in 80.1 innings. The Daphne, Ala. native didn’t allow a run in conference during her final 18.2 innings of work.

Offensively, freshman Meagan Balding and sophomore Sarah Simon each added four hits and two RBI between the games. Kelly finished with three hits on the night.

In game one, the Dolphins only had two hits in the first three frames before breaking the game open with a six-hit, six-run fourth inning to put the contest out of reach.

Simon and sophomore Olivia Kline each opened with singles, while freshman Karson Tuck reached on an error by Hatters during her sacrifice bunt attempt to load the bases. The Hatters got a force out in the next at-bat, but Kelly and Balding followed with RBI singles to give JU a 2-0 lead. Hatters’ catcher Jordan Cleghorn was set to take a throw home on a fielder’s choice hit by junior Brittany Eppley in the next at-bat, but let the ball get away, allowing two more JU runners to score. Junior Amanda Schmidt later doubled home Balding, while Simon plated Eppley on a single to center field to round out the inning.

Sigrest did her part to help the cause, retiring 11 consecutive batters following a one-out single to Chelsey Trotto in the second at-bat of the game. Cleghorn doubled to start the fifth inning to snap the streak, but Sigrest sat down the next three batters to leave her stranded.

The Dolphins opened the fifth inning with three straight to load the bases. Eppley followed with a single to right field to score freshman Jacey Warner, while junior Kayla Ouellet singled to left field to plate a run and end the game early.

Hatters’ starter Courtney Gunby (3-8) took the loss after allowing nine runs, four earned, on 13 hits in 4.1 innings of work.

In game two, the Hatters took a 1-0 lead on two-out single to left field by Katelyn Perna to score Chrissy Morello. Stetson threatened again in the second with bases-loaded and only one away, but Kline retired the next two batters to end the inning.

Jill Semento led off the third inning with a walk for the Hatters and moved to third in the next at-bat on a Perna double to right field. Kline was relieved by Sigrest, who got a fly out in the first at-bat and then struck out the next five batters looking to silence the Hatters.

Simon tied the game at one all in the bottom of the third inning with a one-out homer to left field. The Dolphins had two runners in scoring position with two outs in the next inning, but Stetson starter and eventual losing pitcher Meredith Owen induced a fly out to quash the threat.

In the bottom of the seventh inning, Balding led off with a single to right field and got pinch ran for by senior Annike Don. Junior Melissa Morales advanced Don to second on a sacrifice bunt, while the Hatters countered by intentionally walking Ouellet. They got Schmidt to fly out in the next at-bat so Stetson chose to walk Simon to load the bases. The move played off as Owen struck out Kline to force extra innings.

Semento opened the Hatter eighth inning with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. She moved to third on a sacrifice bunt, but Sigrest retired the next two batters to leave her at third.

Owen got two quick outs in the bottom of the inning before Kelly smashed a ball over the left field fence to close her JU home career in style.

Owen (7-14) allowed two runs on six hits and had three strikeouts in 7.2 innings.

The Dolphins will now start prepping for the A-Sun in Spartanburg, S.C. starting May 11. JU enters as the No. 1 seed and will play the winner of the Mercer/Campbell contest on May 12 at 12:30 p.m.