Wednesday, May 8, 2013

High-Scoring Hatters Crush Records as the Underdog

Stetson coach Frank Griffin predicted the Atlantic Sun Tournament would not  feature many defensive games.

He and his team fulfilled that prophecy in the first game of the A-Sun Championship at 
Lipscomb’s Draper Diamond with a 14-6 win over Florida Gulf Coast Wednesday afternoon.  Both teams pounded out 12 hits. 

The Hatters are the No. 6 seed. The Eagles are the No. 3 seed.

It was the most runs scored in an A-Sun Championship game since the 10-7 game in 1993 between Southeast Louisiana and Samford.

“I have been saying all week that I thought there were going to be a lot of high-scoring games,” Griffin said. “We have plenty of good teams in the conference that can hit.”

Stetson’s Meredith Owen tied the A-Sun single-game record for runs batted in with five. It was also a career-high for Owen. It was the fourth time a player has recorded five RBI in a championship game. The last time was when Jacksonville’s Amanda Schmidt did it against Lipscomb in 2011.

She slammed a three-run homer over the left field fence in the first inning against Florida Gulf Coast starter Jaclyn Owen. It was her 11th of the season.

“It was awesome,” Owen said. “I was just looking for a good, solid pitch to hit because we had some runners on and I knew we needed to get them in.

“I was watching her hard core on the first few batters. I had my confidence up a lot. I knew I could just relax in the box and look for a good pitch. She gave me a nice one and threw everything I could into it.”

In the third inning she connected for a two-RBI double down the right field line with the bases loaded.

Coach Griffin points to Owen’s strength as one of the keys to her hitting,

“Meredith had an exceptional day,” Griffin said. “She has a nice swing and is exceptionally strong. She looks strong, but she is definitely stronger than she looks.”

Jessica Griffin had one of the most unusual scoring lines in the game. She had two hits and walked three times. She scored four runs, a new single-game A-Sun Championship record. It was the most runs scored by a player since 1991.

“For a freshman Jessica does an exceptional job of swinging at good pitches,” Coach Griffin said. “If they are going to give her four balls she is going to take her base.”

Owen, 22-8, went the distance in the circle for the Hatters. It was not her typical game on the mound. She struck out six and walked one. Four of the runs she allowed were earned.

“I am frustrated with myself,” Owen said. “I am so happy my team was here to back me up. They saw me struggling and they did everything they could to help me.

“Florida Gulf Coast has a fantastic hitting team. I can’t take anything away from them. I am impressed with the way they made adjustments in the box. But I have to make adjustments as well.”

Coach Griffin was not surprised that Owen struggled at times in the game.
“She hadn’t pitched in a week,” Coach Griffin said. “Part of the time she was out sick. 
You will see a better performance from her Thursday and down the road.”

Stetson scored three runs in the first, four in the third, one in the fourth, three in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the seventh.

“We discussed with the girls all week that they were going to get scored on,” Coach Griffin said. “We just have to score more.

“We had a good day at the plate. They were swinging at good pitches.  We had five freshmen and two sophomores starting. That is a sign of a good team to come.”

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