CLEARWATER — Countryside left eight runners in scoring position Wednesday and Palm Harbor University capitalized.
Samantha McCloskey homered in the top of the eighth inning, breaking a 1-1 tie and leading the Hurricanes to a 3-1 victory over the Cougars.
"I don't usually see pitches I hit, so I just watched it and hit the ball," McCloskey said.
Taylor Sabol pitched well for the Hurricanes (7-2, 3-1), allowing six hits, five strikeouts and one earned run. The defense backed her up, making one incredible play after another and containing nearly every Cougars scoring threat.
In the bottom of the third, Countryside's Erin Jankiewicz floated a liner over second base, but shortstop Dani Darby made an over-the-shoulder catch to end the inning.
In the top of the sixth, PHU's Lindsay Fenlon led off with a single and McCloskey blasted a shot toward rightfield that rolled by a diving Kelsie Sanchez.
Sanchez regrouped and threw to second but the ball was mishandled, allowing Fenlon to round third and score.
"We gave it to them," Countryside coach Kaylyn Bayly said. "Just making too many errors. We're making too many mental mistakes."
Countryside (7-2, 2-2) answered in the bottom of the inning on a single from Alyssa Householder, driving home a hustling Jankiewicz from third.
In extra innings with a runner on first, McCloskey crushed a two-run homer in the top of the eighth to put the Hurricanes up for good.
"(McCloskey) was looking at me like she thought I was going to have her bunt the girl over," PHU coach Chuck Poetter said. "She just looked at me and smiled."