Heiser led Patriots sweep Pirates on diamond

Savannah, GA - From Francis Marion University

SAVANNAH, GA - Freshman first baseman Meghan Heiser collected the game-winning hit in extra innings in the opener and then homered in the second contest as Francis Marion University swept a Peach Belt Conference softball doubleheader from Armstrong Atlantic State University, Saturday afternoon (March 27).  The Patriots earned a come-from-behind 3-2 win in nine innings and finished off the sweep with a game-two 9-4 win.

The Patriots (26-9, 11-5 PBC) have now won eight straight conference games, while the Pirates (22-11, 1-5 PBC) have notched just one win in three doubleheaders against the top three teams in the PBC standings.

The Pirates jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first game of the doubleheader thanks to back-to-back home runs by Heather Walker and Ashley Buckett leading off the bottom of the fourth inning. AASU held the 2-0 lead all the way to the seventh, and was an out away from claiming the game one win when FMU rallied.

The Patriots' Jessica Hogan lined a one-out double to center field, plating Michaela Wolf to cut the lead to 2-1. After a popup to short, Heiser hit a bloop single to shallow right field that fell in front of Shelby Duff, allowing Hogan to score the tying run and send the game into extra innings. 

AASU had the leadoff runner on in the eighth but could not score and FMU came up with the winning run on another bloop single to right by Heiser that plated Wolf to make the score 3-2. The Pirates had a chance to tie in the bottom of the ninth, but with the tying run on second, Wolf struck out Nicole Huddleston and induced a grounder to short by Megan Qualls to close out the win.

Wolf (15-4) went all nine innings, giving up 10 hits and two runs to get the win for FMU, walking four and striking out five. Megan Barnwell (9-4) took the loss for the Pirates, giving up eight hits and three runs in nine innings, walking one while striking out six.

Wolf was also 2-for-4 at the plate, while Heiser was 2-for-3.

In the second contest, the Pirates again took a quick 2-0 lead on the Patriots, this time in the bottom of the second inning on a bunt RBI single by Ashley Buckett and an errant throwing error.

Francis Marion answered in the top of the fourth with four runs, highlighted by Heiser's solo home run and a two-run double by senior Kat Beauvais. The Patriots put the game out of reach with three runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to take an 8-2 lead.

Alisa Malte notched a two-RBI pinch-hit double for AASU in the bottom of the sixth, but that ended AASU's scoring. Wolf added an RBI double in the top of the seventh for good measure in the 9-4 win by the Patriots. 

Cea Knox (11-4) hurled the complete-game victory for Francis Marion in game two, scattering eight hits and giving up four runs in seven innings, walking five and striking out four. Shelby Duff (6-3) took the loss for AASU, giving up four hits and three runs in 3 1/3 innings, walking three batters.

Junior right fielder Chelle Phillips led FMU in game two with three hits and an RBI, while Heiser, Beauvais, and catcher Olivia Ferguson all had two hits.  Both Beauvais and Ferguson drove in two runs.

FMU sophomore second baseman Ashley Jaramillo went hitless in game one to end her 12-game hitting streak. 

The Patriots return to action on Sunday with a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla.