FLORENCE — After struggling against Rogers starter Mercedes Covey during their first go-around, the Florence Lady Buff batters found some of their form and were able to get some hits.
But bringing them home proved to be another story.
Despite getting three hits and seven base runners after the third inning, the Lady Buffs were shut out 9-0 on Tuesday afternoon.
“We didn’t just back down, we battled toward the end of the game and that hadn’t been the case in the past,” Florence head coach Brett Gola said. “We stressed competing the entire time, and we competed, even though we came out on the short end.”
Florence (6-6, 1-3 District 22-2A) stranded four runners on base after the third inning, three of which were in scoring position.
Florence starting pitcher Mackenzie Futrell struck out two batters while catcher Courtney Culp had a pair of singles to lead the Lady Buff offense.
Shortstop Clarissa Carranco and Futrell combined to go 2 for 5 from the plate.
Covey pitched a perfect first three innings and it took some time for the Florence batters to develop some patience against the Rogers hurler.
Eight of the first nine Florence batters went down on four pitches or less in the first three innings and the Lady Buffs drew just one walk.
“I don’t think we were ready to hit during the first at-bat,” Carranco said. “But once we’ve been through the lineup once, we got the hits going. But it was a little bit too late for that.”
Carranco broke up the perfect game with a bloop hit down the shallow left-field line that dropped in between three Rogers players.
It looked like Florence had something going in the bottom of the fifth when third baseman Brooklynne Owens walked and got to third on a Culp single to left, but Covey got a groundout and double play to end Florence’s threat.
Futrell singled to left with one out in the home sixth, but was stranded at second.
“I think we realized that she was going to throw more changeups than we figured so that helped us a lot,” Culp said. “We were expecting it.”
Rogers outfielder Christina Brenek scored the first run of the game on a wild pitch in the top of the first and Stormie Hebert made it 3-0 with a two-run homer to center.
Hebert would hit another two-run shot to cap the scoring in the top of the seventh.
Florence used a five-run third inning to beat Cameron Yoe 5-3 on Monday and earn its first District 22-2A win.
The No. 1-5 hitters of Owens, Samantha Vaughan, Culp, Carranco and Brittany Ramirez combined to hit .454 (5 of 11) with four runs scored against Yoe. Culp had a two-RBI double in that game.
Florence looks to rebound on Tuesday when it visits Lexington.
Contact Albert Alvarado at email@example.com