ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The Lander softball team suffered its first sweep of the season as Eckerd used a three-run eighth inning in the second game of a non-conference doubleheader to secure a pair of wins on Thursday night.
Lander (14-6) took the lead in the third inning of the second game when Kasey Rogers walked to lead off the frame and a bunt single from Casey Wooten, followed by a wild pitch, put runners at second and third. After a pair of outs, Eckerd (10-11) looked ready to escape the jam, but Kelli McCormack's single up the middle brought home two Rogers and Wooten to give the Bearcats a 2-0 lead.
The Tritons cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the third on a double steal, as the score remained 2-1 until the top of the fifth inning. A two-out double from Halie Sorrow and a single from McCormack extended the inning and Dariean Ward's single to left field plated Sorrow to increase the Bearcat lead to 3-1.
Once again, Eckerd ansered with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth to trim the lead to 3-2. With two outs in the bottom of the seventh, an error allowed the tying run to score for Eckerd, sending the game to extra innings.
Lander took a 5-3 lead in the top of the eighth on a pair of RBI singles from Rogers and Sydney Grimes, but the Tritons responded once more. An RBI single through the right side cut the Lander lead to 5-4 and, with two outs and runners on second and third, Dana Paul's base hit to right field brought both runners home to end the game.
Ashley Vinson (1-1) was tagged with the loss, allowing two earned runs on two hits in 1.2 innings of relief, while Eckerd's Nikole Van Gannep (8-7) picked up her second win of the day, allowing two runs on three hits in 1.0 inning.
A two-run home run from Meredith McGinnis in the bottom of the second and an RBI single from Chelsea Armstrong in the bottom of the third were all the Tritons needed in the first game, as Van Gannep tossed a complete-game shutout, striking out seven batters and allowing just two hits. The loss marked the first Lander shutout of the season and the first time in 28 games that the Bearcats failed to score a run.
McKenzi Ferguson (9-2) took the loss for Lander, allowing three runs on four hits with five strikeouts and three walks in 6.0 innings of work.