JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Fire’s offensive power surge in game one was matched in game two when the Tigers’ bats came alive. Southeastern ended game one via run rule in the fifth inning,13-2, claiming the team’s first win of the season. However, in game two, a four-run fifth inning propelled the Tigers to victory, 7-4.
Game 1: There was no shortage of offense from the Fire lineup. A five-run opening frame set the tone for the rest of the game.
Haleigh Harrell, one of 10 playing their first collegiate game, hit a one-out double to jump start the Fire. A pair of hit-by-pitches loaded the bases for Britney Schmidt, who laced a grounder up the middle, plating two. Lauren Watters was hit by a pitch to load the bases once more, this time for Kristin Mihalic. The freshman capitalized on a error by the right fielder which allowed three additional runs to score.
Hannah Bodenhorn’s pitching and Fire defense held the Tigers scoreless for the first two innings. In her first two innings of work, Bodenhorn totaled four strikeouts. The transfer from North Alabama would finish the game with seven total strikeouts.
The Fire proceeded to score in four consecutive innings, highlighted by Sam Holcomb’s two-run blast in the third and Kiah Ferrell’s solo shot to lead off the top of the fourth. Ferrell collected two hits and three RBIs in the season opener.
Edward Waters would tack on two runs in the bottom of the third, but it was not nearly enough to stop the red-hot Fire.
“The girls came out and swung the bats well. They saw pitches they knew they could handle and drove the ball to all fields,” expressed head coach Anna Welsh.
Heather Faulk, Holcomb, Schmidt, and Harrell all combined for 11 of the Fire’s 13 hits. Ramsey Sullivan and Watters each added a base hit in their first collegiate outing.
Game 2: Homers by Mihalic and Harrell were not enough the defeat the Tigers in game two. Similar to the first meeting between the two teams, the Fire jumped out to an early 1-0 lead. However, the Tigers would capitalize on a couple of Fire errors and answer right back to capture a 2-1 lead.
In the third, Mihalic circled the pillows with a laser shot over the right-centerfield wall to tie the game. Just as they did in the first frame, the Tigers answered right back to knot the game up once more.
The Tigers took control of the game in the bottom of the fifth with the help of Samantha Hiley’s two-run home run. The following batter was hit by a pitch, and Lauren Eaker then blasted a drive over the wall for the second two-run home run of the inning. Edward Waters would tack on four runs to take a 7-3 lead.
Down to their final three outs, the Fire witnessed the start of a potentially exciting comeback. A botched fly ball by the Tiger center fielder allowed Brandee Pietrzak to reach second. Ferrell singled and Natalie Hughes walked, which set up a bases loaded situation with nobody out. Back-to-back putouts at the plate and a final fly out thwarted the Fire comeback.
The Fire will be back in action on February 10 when they host Trinity Baptist College.