FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) – Senior left-hander Michaela Wolf returned to action after a nearly two-week layoff and tossed a three-hit shutout, while freshman first baseman Meghan Heiser knocked in four runs as Francis Marion University swept a Peach Belt Conference softball doubleheader from Columbus State University on Wednesday afternoon, winning 8-0 in six innings and 7-4.
Francis Marion ups its overall record to 15-7 and is 7-5 in the Peach Belt, while CSU drops to 9-14-1 and 0-2. FMU will host the Patriot Invitational Tournament this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Freedom Florence.
Wolf (9-3) allowed only three singles in game one, while striking out six. CSU righty Kristi Bullard (5-6) allowed seven runs (four earned) in five innings and was tagged with the loss.
FMU freshman catcher Olivia Ferguson recorded her first collegiate hits, going 2-for-3, including a two-run triple to right center field in the fifth inning. Heiser delivered a two-run single in the bottom of the first inning as the Patriots grabbed an early lead.
Wolf made that 2-0 advantage stand up until FMU plated three runs in each of the fifth and sixth innings. Catcher Rocky Hemmer had two of Columbus State's three hits in the opener.
Junior right-hander Cea Knox (6-3) started the second contest for Francis Marion. She pitched six shutout innings, allowing the four CSU runs all in the fifth frame. She struck out five, and also went 1-for-3 at the plate.
Heiser, right fielder Chelle Phillips, and shortstop Jessica Hogan all had two hits for FMU in game two. Senior left fielder Jessica Birchmeier and sophomore second baseman Ashley Jaramillo blasted back-to-back solo homers on consecutive pitches to lead off the second inning.
Jaramillo also helped Knox with a diving stop of grounder hit up the middle in the third inning. She flipped the ball with her glove while sprawled on the ground to Hogan at second base for a force out that ended the frame and stranded two runners on base.
Francis Marion built a 6-0 lead until the Cougars scored four times in the fifth. FMU then added an insurance run in the sixth inning.
Hemmer was 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs in the second contest. Left-side infielders Brittany Leverett and Carrie Jones were both 2-for-4 with a run scored. Bullard, as the designated player in game two, plated the other two Cougar runs with a fifth-inning double.