PALM HARBOR — The rivalry between Countryside and Palm Harbor University is usually a tightly-contested game that comes down to the last few innings. Tuesday was the exception.
The Hurricanes jumped all over Countryside early and never let up in a 10-3 win. PHU (5-1) pounded out 15 hits against four Hurricanes pitchers. Senior third baseman Sam McCloskey hammered two home runs and had four RBIs to lead the rout. Megan Copeland (2-for-3),
Torey Scott (3-for-4), Jessica Adams (2-for-3) and Rachel Taylor (2-for-3) also had multiple hits. In fact, eight of nine PHU starters had at least one hit.
“Did I see this coming? No,” PHU coach Chuck Poetter said. “Are we capable of it? Yes. We’re pretty solid up and down the lineup, so as long as our pitching does what it’s supposed to do we should be all right.”
Left-hander Taylor Sabol (3-1) pitched a complete-game 10-hitter and had eight strikeouts. The Hurricanes scored two runs in the first inning off Cougars starter Alyssa Queen. Taylor got the game’s first RBI when she singled to left to score Scott. Chrissy Tabulov followed with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
The Hurricanes added two more in the second, then blew it open with two runs in the third. After Adams reached on a walk, McCloskey hit a bomb to left-centerfield that bounced off the scoreboard.
“I’m hitting the ball very well right now,” McCloskey said. “A lot better than last year. I was just looking for a pitch to drive.”
In the fourth inning things got worse for Countryside. Leadoff hitter Megan Copeland, Adams and McCloskey each drove in runs to make it 9-0. The Cougars got on the board in the fifth when Sam Sharpe drove in Hailee Keisling with two outs. Keisling, Sharpe, Kelsie Sanchez, Erin Jankiewicz and Kristin Hubbard had two hits each to lead the Cougars.
McCloskey hit her second homer of the game, and third this season, in the sixth inning. It was a no-doubter over the centerfield fence.